Climate Resilience Programme  


ORC’s Climate Resilience Programme will help build flood resilience for communities across Otago region. 


What is ORC’s Climate Resilience Programme? 


The Climate Resilience Programme in Otago is aimed at improving flood protection assets owned and managed by Otago Regional Council (ORC). These assets are integral to improving our communities’ resilience against flood events. It is important that we keep these flood protections up to date and fit for purpose to protect our local communities now and well into the future. 



Weather events such as high rainfall are becoming more frequent and severe. ORC’s existing flood protection infrastructure provides a level of protection to our local communities from flood events. 

Projects in the Climate Resilience Programme are critical works needed to help minimise the impacts of flooding on local communities in Otago. The programme also provides economic benefits to the region by creating jobs and protecting infrastructure and agricultural land. 

ORC’s Climate Resilience Programme is a part of a national programme led by Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (Kānoa - REDIU) of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). It is a part of $3 billion investment in infrastructure to support New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19, and will partially fund the four projects in Otago. 


There are four projects that make up the Climate Resilience Programme. Two are located within the Lower Clutha flood protection scheme and two within the Lower Taieri flood protection scheme. These projects were chosen because planning for the work was already underway, meeting the shovel ready criteria and the projects provided environmental and social benefit.


West Taieri Contour Channel and bridges upgrade 

This project will upgrade the currently existing Contour Channel, which is a part of the Lower Taieri Flood Protection Scheme in Mosgiel, Otago. 

Contour Channel floodbank was originally constructed in the early 1900s using horse and cart construction techniques.

The channel intercepts runoff from the various steep streams located on the Maungatua Range and conveys this runoff by gravity to the Waipori River. The channel has an undulating longitudinal profile, which promotes concentration of overtopping during flood events, potentially exposing parts of the floodbank to relatively rapid failure.

Floodbank failure could potentially inundate 7,300 hectares of highly productive agricultural land and Dunedin International Airport. The proposed works are therefore necessary to bring the flood scheme up to a standard that can be relied upon as a flood defence. 


Outram floodbank seepage mitigation

The Outram Floodbank experiences seepage during high river flows (e.g. 2017 flood). Seepage may threaten the integrity of the floodbank in the long run and this project will fix this by extending the stopbank toe with a weighting blanket, sealing or replacing culverts, constructing bottom stormwater drains, and refilling and sealing weak zones caused by tree roots.

This floodbank forms part of the Taieri Flood Protection Scheme that prevents inundation of up to 4,000 hectares of highly productive agricultural land, Dunedin International Airport, and State Highway 87. 

Riverbank Road stopbank stabilisation

This project will stabilise critical flood protection stopbanks along Riverbank Road in the Lower Clutha delta, near Balclutha. The stopbank stabilisation was required due to flood damage caused by the February 2020 floods. Flood damage to stopbanks will be repaired at four critical locations on Riverbank Road, which runs 7km along the Mata-Au Branch of the Clutha River from the Riverbank Road bridge near Stirling. 


Robson Lagoon flow control structures

This project will upgrade flow control structures for Robson Lagoon, located northeast of Balclutha. Infrastructure will be upgraded to assist with flood management around the Robson Lagoon area, whilst protecting its natural and cultural values. The regionally significant Lake Tuakitoto Wetland complex, which includes Robson Lagoon, is located in the Clutha-Mata Au catchment, approximately 7km east/northeast of Balclutha. The upgraded flow management structures will improve flow during flood events and provide a more sustainable habitat for local wildlife, such as native fish. 

Lake Tuakitoto Wetland complex is a part of catchment serviced by the Lower Clutha Flood Protection and Drainage Scheme. 



More information


We are holding community information sessions to update local residents on what will be happening in their areas through ORC's Climate Resilience Programme. We are having conversations with the local communities about the work we will be doing to protect their agricultural land and homes from flooding.  


Session #1: Lower Clutha

This community drop-in session was held in March 2021 in Balclutha. The purpose of this event was to inform the residents living in Lower Clutha area about shovel-ready flood protection works taking place along Riverbank Road and Robson Lagoon, as part of the Climate Resilience Programme. 


Session #2: Lower Taieri 

This community drop-in session was held in May 2021 in Mosgiel. We talked about shovel-ready flood protection works along Contour Channel near Dunedin Airport, as well as Taieri River floodbank seepage mitigation near Outram. The words are a part of ORC's Climate Resilience Programme, partially funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.


In July 2020, the central government announced their plans to invest in 'shovel ready’ climate resilience and flood protection projects across New Zealand to help with its economic recovery from COVID-19 and keep communities safer. 


In November 2020, the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) in the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) and the Otago Regional Council (ORC) finalised an agreement for $5.44 million in government funding for four engineering projects in Otago.  


This will fund 60% of the total cost of the projects, while the remaining 40% will be covered by ratepayers’ contributions.  


For more information, please read our media release.


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