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Matamata-Piako addressing hazard risks

Joint release from Matamata-Piako District Council and Waikato Regional Council
More research is needed on the potential effects of liquefaction, climate change and severe wind on Matamata-Piako district, says a new technical report prepared by the Waikato Regional Council’s regional hazards team.

The report – available at http://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/tr201401/ - is part of an ongoing regional series and is designed to guide and prioritise natural hazard risk reduction work in the district.

In order of priority, the report identifies earthquakes (with a number of active fault lines and potential for liquefaction), drought and river-related flooding as the three biggest risks faced by the district on an ongoing basis. It notes there is continuing population growth in known hazard areas.

The fact that earthquakes pose the greatest risk is an important consideration for the district “in light of possible future growth and the associated pressure to increase development in known flood hazard areas”, the report said.

The report also said the Matamata-Piako district is particularly vulnerable to flood events due to its location, regular high rainfall in the ranges and other factors.

Climate change could cause issues such as more turbulent weather and an increase in flooding, droughts and severe winds, it added.

The report recommended that the issues raised are primarily addressed through the Matamata-Piako District Plan.

“The significance of various natural hazards in the Matamata-Piako District is partially dependant on the appropriate development of susceptible land. It is therefore recommended that the full range of natural hazards continue to be considered when planning for future growth, even those that have been identified as relatively insignificant by this assessment.”

It also recommended that more attention and research is done into the potential for earthquakes to cause liquefaction (a common problem in Christchurch), the impacts of climate change and potential for severe winds. In the meantime both councils will continue working together to better understand the natural hazard risks facing the district and to plan ahead accordingly.

Commenting on the report, Matamata-Piako mayor Jan Barnes said: “It is important to identify and address the natural hazard risks in the district, as it allows us to prepare for the future.”

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