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Resilient River Communities

Waiau River Flood Damage Remediation Project

Environment Southland

Environment Southland has completed flood damage remediation work in the lower-to-mid reaches of the Waiau River. This project is on farmland and provides river edge protection to the Waiau above Te Waewae (Waiau) Lagoon

Te Waewae (Waiau) lagoon is culturally important to Ngāi Tahu ki Murihiku.  It is ecologically significant and widely used by the community. The lagoon is particularly susceptible to various impacts, including effects from fine-sediment input, partly because the lagoon is long and narrow, and the outflow into Te Waewae Bay is narrow.   

Flooding in Southland in October 2019 eroded large areas of riverbank throughout the lower Waiau River. With no flood protection in place, productive farmland was at risk of further erosion, with the likelihood of sediment washing down into the lagoon causing environmental damage.

In early 2020 remedial work was carried out under urgency on three properties. However, the February 2020 flood event halted progress. Funding received via the Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit has enabled the completion of further work at seven sites across four properties over the spring/summer of 2021-22.