Why do flood risk assessments take time?

Publish Date : 14 Feb 2024

Healthy Waters Head of Planning, Nick Vigar, explains some of the complexities involved in the flood-risk assessment process.

With flood risk assessments underway across Tāmaki Makaurau, we are receiving a lot of questions from homeowners waiting for their final category, and wanting to know when they will receive it.

In the video above, Healthy Waters Head of Planning, Nick Vigar, explains some of the complexities involved in the flood-risk assessment process.

Our teams are working hard to give homeowners certainty as quickly as possible. We are throwing everything we can into this, however, property level risk-based assessments do take time, as indicated in our recovery timelines.

“A flooding situation can be very, very different for each property - even when they’re right next door to each other. There's a lot of analysis at a property-by-property level that must be done to determine if the property gets over that threshold of risk to life”, says Nick.

For example, neighbouring properties along a stream may have different levels of risk. So, even if our team does site visits for a group of properties, those homes on the same street may not get a category at the same time, or the same category.

The time we take to assess a property depends on how complex the flooding issues are. For each property we not only evaluate the risk and potential site specific mitigation options, but also if there is a community infrastructure solution.

The intent of the Government risk categorisation framework is to remove people from places where there is an intolerable risk to life during extreme weather events. This is why the threshold for our assessments is intolerable risk to life. Given the significant implications for homeowners, it is important our decisions are based on robust technical evidence and reviewed by independent experts.

We are aware that waiting for a category is a difficult process for many homeowners. If you are struggling with your wellbeing and would like additional support, please reach out to our navigator service by emailing navigators@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or filling in this online referral form.

If you have further questions please visit our frequently asked questions or email propertycategory@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz


What are flood risk assessments?

Flood risk assessments are a free service provided by the Tāmaki Makaurau Recovery Office for homeowners who were affected by the 2023 severe weather events, to help them and council understand flooding risks. This handy guide (PDF 1.39MB) gives you a preview of what to expect.

How does the council prioritise different areas for categorisation? 

We are currently assessing properties right across Auckland. Where possible, we try to schedule site visits in an area at the same time but we are not working suburb-by-suburb. 

The order in which we assess individual properties varies depending on a range of factors, including: 

  • whether the property was affected by flood, landslide or both

  • where the property is and whether there are potential catchment/community level interventions available in that area

  • whether the occupants have been displaced from their home

  • the complexity of the engineering assessment

  • when the homeowner submitted their assessment request form.

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