The Ōpāwaho / Heathcote River catchment has a history of flooding and poor water quality. The impact of flooding was increased due to land settlement and channel damage as a result of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES) from 2010 onwards. The response to the effects of the CES through Christchurch City Council’s (CCC) Land Drainage Recovery Programme (LDRP) was primarily to restore flooding to pre-earthquake levels. However, the flood mitigation infrastructure has also provided a significant opportunity to improve water quality and provide for some of the community aspirations for the Ōpāwaho / Heathcote River corridor. This demonstrates good practice in considering multiple values within floodplain management, and ensures the greatest return for the community from an investment of over $100 million in infrastructure.
CCC has a multi-value approach to stormwater management, aiming to deliver on the following six values: drainage, culture, ecology, heritage, recreation, landscape. Leading edge when introduced, this approach has been embedded into stormwater infrastructure delivery in Christchurch. This has ensured that the infrastructure delivered as part of the Ōpāwaho / Heathcote River floodplain management scheme has far wider benefits than just flood reduction.
Some of the ‘non-drainage’ results achieved by CCC adopting a multi value approach and obtaining input from a wide range of groups include:
Combined together, these represent a significant improvement in the health of the Ōpāwaho / Heathcote River catchment and provide a platform for ongoing improvement in catchment health. Community involvement in achieving these outcomes has been important, with stream care and river network groups engaged during the design and implementation phases.
This paper will provide examples of the multiple values achieved, describe the process undertaken to achieve this, and discuss the lessons learnt throughout the process.