Jul 23, 2020

Storm Water Upgrades Could Increase Flood Risk at New Zealand Schools

Plans to pump more storm water into creeks in a Blenheim suburb of New Zealand could increase flood risks

New Zealand

The Ministry of Education is concerned about plans to pump more storm water into creeks in a Blenheim suburb of New Zealand. The ministry believes it could increase the risk of flooding at three schools, reported Stuff.

The Marlborough District Council plans to pipe storm water runoff from approximately 971 acres of land in north-west Blenheim into four creeks. The council filed a consent application with itself in February.

As a counter submission, the Ministry of Education expressed concerns the works could increase the risk of flooding at Marlborough Girls’ College, Bohally Intermediate and Springlands School.

Two of the creeks, Fulton Creek and Murphy’s Creek, were located within 200 meters of the schools, and were set to take up to about 3000 more litres per second from the Springlands area. A flood model run by the council determined the works would not harm the three schools or the co-located colleges when built, according to Stuff.

As a response, the Ministry of Education also pointed out that the modeling for the co-located schools was based on a presumption that the site would increase its footprint by 50%, despite no final designs being agreed.

The ministry planned to review the modelling using a Resource Management Act consultant, according to Ministry of Education head of infrastructure service Kim Shannon.

“The safety and wellbeing of staff and students is a priority for us as it is for schools, and we have a responsibility to make sure our school properties are safe,” said Shannon.

The plans were part of a larger management plan for the Springlands Stormwater Area. The proposal does not promise to improve the mauri of the creek, however, which was listed by the council as having the sixth worst water quality in Marlborough of 34 waterways.

The ministry expects to be searching for design and construction suppliers by the end of the year, with design work continuing throughout 2021.

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