Media release

Otago receives $5m in central government funding for shovel-ready flood protection projects

Thursday 16 July 2020

The government today announced major investment in flood resilience infrastructure in Southland and Otago, including four shovel-ready projects submitted by the Otago Regional Council (ORC).

The funding is part of the $210m for shovel-ready climate resilience and flood protection projects throughout New Zealand.

The government will contribute $5m of funding for the infrastructure projects in Otago, which were submitted for consideration as part of a combined proposal by the Regional Council Sector Group.

The four projects selected for co-investment are

  • West Taieri Contour Channel Upgrade - Contour channel renewal/upgrade which includes bridge replacements. The contour channel assists with flood protection and land drainage of approximately 4,000ha of land and was built in 1915.
  • Riverbank Road Flood Slip Repair – Repairing flood erosion and scour in a part of the Clutha River and Lower Clutha Flood Protection Scheme.
  • Upgrade and Installation of ORC Flow Management Structures at Robson Lagoon (part of Lake Tuakitoto Wetland, a regionally significant wetland) - The flow management structures will allow sustainable habitat levels and flows during flood events. The control structures will provide for the passage of fish.
  • Outram Floodbank Weighting Blanket - Construct Weighting Blanket to reduce risk of floodbank failure and flooding of up to 4,000ha of land including potentially Dunedin Airport.


ORC Chair Andrew Noone said the funding was terrific news that would boost flood resilience significantly in Otago.

“Today’s announcement is part of the biggest investment in flood infrastructure in New Zealand in decades. It will go a long way towards upgrading essential infrastructure, create dozens of jobs in Otago alone, and help our communities adapt to the effects of climate change.

“The government’s investment will also stimulate our local economy by introducing millions of dollars in infrastructure spending in the region, which is particularly welcome as Otago works to recover from the impact of Covid-19.”

ORC General Manager Operations Gavin Palmer said the projects were more important than ever.

“Recent flood events in Otago, like the flooding in the Lower Clutha experienced in February, are occurring with more intensity and frequency. The projects supported by today’s funding announcements will update, upgrade and improve our ability to withstand such events,” Dr Palmer said.

Further information about the projects and the next steps will become available as ORC works through the details with the government.