South Dunedin residents talk about future flood risks

South Dunedin residents talk about future flood risks | Insurance Business

South Dunedin residents talk about future flood risks
South Dunedin residents have started to discuss their uncertain future following a major flood that swept their area in June 2016.

The Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council held the first of eight public meetings to discuss what went wrong in last June’s major flood and what could be done in the future, Radio NZ reported.

South Dunedin was named New Zealand’s most threatened community by rising sea level after the flood, which damaged more than 1,200 properties, and incurred $28 million in insurance bills.

Gavin Palmer, Otago Regional Council director for engineering, said: "From the response we've had the past week and this morning, people are really engaged and sharing their own experiences of South Dunedin.”

During the public meeting, locals were reminded of their area’s environmental history – how it was built on swampy marshland and filled with lagoons, and the water table was not far beneath the surface.

They were also informed that not only does their suburb appear to be sinking at about one millimetre a year, water was also rising due in part to global climate change at an unknown rate, Radio NZ reported.

Some residents were not accepting of the report, some found the information helpful, and others asked for specific guidance about the future of their area so they could make decisions about their homes.

Sue Bidrose, Dunedin City Council CEO, said there was overwhelming positive feedback during the meeting despite some grumpy people. She said the greatest feedback she received had been appreciation from people who were informed that the wastewater system and stormwater system had two completely different sets of pipes, Radio NZ reported. 

"If you don't know that, it's very hard to understand how the flood happened, so just getting that understanding out there has been very good," Bidrose said.

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