Preparing Auckland for winter storms

Last Updated : 28 May 2024

More than 650 blockages were found in Auckland’s waterways after the Anniversary Weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, with over 100 of them critical.

Drones observed over 201.9km across 46 streams around the region to find further blockages. Unusual items included shipping containers, tiny homes, small sheds, fences, gas bottles, cars and mostly trees and shrubbery have been removed from waterways.

In addition to major storm-related items, items that commonly cause blockages include trolleys, rubbish and household dumping such as mattresses and couches.

While most debris blockages have been cleared from the public network since the 2023 storms, more continue to form as weakened trees and shrubbery has come loose or new slips have formed.

$2m to accelerate winter readiness

Last week the Auckland Council Governing Body approved funding for Making Space for Water, Auckland Council's proposed 10-year programme to reduce flood risk and improve flood readiness, as part of its proposed Long-term Plan 2024-34.

The Government has allocated $2 million to help accelerate some of this work so that more is done here and now with winter storms in mind. Activities this winter will form the foundation and testing ground for the work required on an ongoing basis to keep on top of flood risks.

Accelerated work supported by the funding includes:

  • Using maintenance crews and heavy machinery to remove large, difficult or hazardous debris blockages that are unsafe for communities to achieve alone
  • Community clean-up events to remove weeds, rubbish and manageable debris from streams and clean up neighbourhoods
  • Providing advice to residents on actions they can take to reduce the flood risk in their homes and businesses. This preparedness marketing campaign has started across the region.
Read Mayor Brown and Minister Mitchell's press release here

Major debris removal

Major debris removal is complex and expensive and requires additional funding to keep on top of the ongoing challenge.

Additional funding and activities to address these issues from the second half of the year onward are being approved as part of the Long-Term Plan for action. In the meantime

Auckland Council has identified a range of high priority locations across the region that will be brought forward thanks to support from the Government’s funding. Much of this major removal work requires heavy machinery, often cranes or helicopters, and can’t be undertaken by community groups. Some of these projects have been completed, some are underway and many will get underway soon.

Areas for accelerated winter debris removal

Coatesville Rangitopuni and Mahoenui Streams
Kumeu Kumeu River
Glenfield Easton Park Parade
Sunnyvale Waikumete Stream
Henderson Opanuku Stream, Waikumete Stream
Ranui Paremuka Stream
Hillsborough Olsen Ave
Avondale Oakley Creek
Waterview Oakley Creek
Mt Albert Oakley Creek
St Helliers Glen Atkinson Reserve
Mangere James Fletcher Drive, Gray-Hain Ave, Mahunga Drive culvert
Clevedon Wairoa River
Pukekohe Whangapouri Creek
Howick Freyberg Place


Community-led activities

Funding from the allocation will enable capable community groups to deliver smaller scale stream cleans and education events in high-risk areas.

Communities want to play more of a leadership role in maintaining streams so that they are safe and healthy. Locals have a real connection to their waterways, and many have been studying activity and undertaking small maintenance tasks around the streams for years.

Groups funded to deliver local stream clean and education events, alongside smaller groups where possible include:

  • West – EcoMatters and Community Waitākere
  • South – Ōtara Waterways and Lake Trust
  • North – Kaipātiki Project
  • Rural – Kaukapakapa catchment group

EcoMatters will be leading a stream cleaning event around Urlich Reserve on 26 May, following their recent mulching of debris piles on the reserve. Other partner groups have events in planning, including at Harania Stream in Mangere, another flooding risk area where many neighbouring homes are in flood plains. Events that the community can participate in will be promoted locally. 

Preparing homes

We can keep our own whanau safe by understanding the flooding risks where we live, and taking good steps to reduce the risk and prepare for major events. With the Government’s support, Auckland Council will be

Check out the Auckland Council Flood Viewer map and find out whether your home is in a flood prone, flood plain, or overland flow path area - all of which increase your risk of flooding.

  • Flood plains are areas predicted to be covered by flood water during heavy rain.
  • Flood prone areas are low-lying areas where water can become trapped and collect during heavy rain, especially if the stormwater outlet is blocked or reaches capacity.
  • Overland Flow Paths are the routes water will naturally take across the ground during heavy rain when the stormwater network is at capacity, or where there is no stormwater network.

Some actions to prepare your home for flooding include clearing drains and gutters, not blocking overland flow paths, and many more. Advice and resources to support whanau to prepare are available under the ‘Get Prepared’ tab on the flood viewer website, and information will be available in libraries and community hubs.

Please report flooding issues

Auckland Council carries out regular checks in blockage and flooding hotspots, particularly when there are serious weather warnings.

But they can’t be everywhere at once, so it’s critical that residents report any issues to Auckland Council by calling 09 301 0101 as soon as possible.

Being able to address blockages and flooding issues during or following an event, can reduce the flooding risk and severity in the next downpour.

Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell and Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown

Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell and Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown

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