Environment Canterbury has received $360,000 in funding from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) to investigate ways of working with nature to build resilience and better protect communities from future flooding.
The funding will support three projects investigating nature-based flood protection solutions. A total of 21 projects have been funded nationally.
Environment Canterbury Chair, Peter Scott said the projects will investigate natural ways in which we can increase flood protection and climate resilience.
“The funding will allow us to investigate how we can make more room for the river, how protection and restoration of coastal freshwater and brackish wetlands can provide coastal flood mitigation, and how Mātauranga Māori can be incorporated into flood protection measures to improve outcomes for the community,” he said.
“This kind of investigation and feasibility work is critical for us as we try to understand how we can work with nature to protect communities from future flooding.”
Chair Scott said that over the last three years, Environment Canterbury has shown how successful this type of funding can be through the shovel-ready Climate Resilience Programme (CRP) which fast-tracked more than $24 million of flood protection work and provided immediate benefits to Canterbury communities and river environments.
“This additional funding will also be put to good use and will help us plan to protect our river and coastal systems and communities from future flood events,” he said.
Flood protection methods vary river-by-river depending on its location, geography, water levels, surrounding land and the types of communities nearby.
Chair Scott said the regional council was pleased to have received the additional once-off funding, however long-term investment for physical works was still needed.
“While one-off funding helps to support proactive flood protection for our communities, we simply can’t ignore the elephant in the room which is permanent co-investment.”
“I recently sent an open letter to election candidates where I explained the importance of co-investment – it gives us the ability to deliver works faster and more efficiently than rates alone can afford.
“Our ratepayers have made some significant investments in river management and flood resilience and the challenges aren’t going to go away. How we deal with those challenges remains crucial to the wellbeing and success of our region,” he said.