Queenstown flood risk campaign begins

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Council staff will visit buildings in flood risk areas of Queenstown next week to ensure businesses and homeowners are prepared for the worst.

Queenstown-Lakes District Council and Otago Regional Council staff annual flood awareness campaign begins on Thursday.

The campaign, part of the “Learning to Live with Flooding: Flood Risk Management Strategy” involves a walkabout in flood prone areas of Queenstown, Wanaka, Kingston and Glenorchy.

Owners and occupiers will be reminded of information available to help prepare and respond in cases of flooding.

ORC director environmental engineering and natural hazards Dr Gavin Palmer says the annual walkabout stemmed from the two councils’ joint flood risk management strategy for the two lakes and their communities developed in 2005.

“We want to help the communities to be ready to manage the exposure to flood risk rather than try and avoid or limit these risks through engineered alteration of the physical environment,” Dr Palmer says.

It is also an opportunity for the councils to update contact data bases and promote the ability of property owners and businesses to self-monitor lake levels, and to remind businesses to dust off flood plans and be ready to respond proactively he says.

The annual reminder is timed to coincide with the potential flood season.

The 1999 flood was the most severe and second-most severe ever experienced by the Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka communities respectively.