Natural hazards are atmospheric, Earth or water processes that may damage people, property or other parts of the environment. Many of the effects of existing and predicted natural hazards are made worse by the location of human settlement. Communities spring up on plains, terraces and dune systems that have been created by natural hazards such as floods, earthquake faulting, wave action and changes in sea level.
Natural hazards are a constant threat to the Waikato region because it has:
The main natural hazards that are recognised in the Waikato region are:
The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) gives regional councils responsibilities for:
In addition to the RMA, the new Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act 2002 places further emphasis on the identification of natural hazards and the risks associated with them. Waikato Regional Council is part of the Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group.
Early identification of hazards by Waikato Regional Council combined with public education will help people in the Waikato region make informed decisions on land development options that avoid the risk from hazards.
Our Regional Hazards team aims to identify, collate, analyse and provide regional scale hazard information to stakeholders, the general public and Civil Defence Emergency Management agencies. Our main goal is to ensure the risks from hazards are reduced over time and that sound decision making results in respect to current and future development of hazard prone areas. The team is involved in everything from flood warning, to oil spills in our oceans.
Effective hazard planning shapes the places where people live, work and play. It plays a key role in supporting Waikato Regional Council’s strategic direction for supporting sustainable communities.
Other Waikato Regional Council initiatives include:
Land use planning for natural hazards - stewardship for the future is one of a series of CAENZ comments on issues of topical importance to New Zealand.
Natural hazards impact significant numbers of households, businesses and farms annually in all parts of the country.
In order to lower our risk exposure in the future we need to better incorporate hazard planning in what we build today.
This commentary is derived prinicipally from CAENZ papers on landuse and natural hazards. It is supplemented by comments from leaders in both research and practice. Many of these comments were acquired through interviews. Additional content was supplied by the editors and the editorial support team.
The effects of natural hazard events are likely to be much greater if people are not aware of natural hazard risks and not prepared to respond to emergencies. The Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group(external link) website has information on:
Our Publications(external link) pages list a range of pamphlets and booklets on natural hazards and Civil Defence.
Find out more about the natural or human-induced hazards potentially affecting your home or town by contacting your city or district council (e.g. LIM reports).
Go back to the hazards and emergency management page to learn more about natural hazards in the Waikato region.