Bylaw review of flood-protection assets

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is reviewing its Floodway and Drainage Bylaw 2008, a regulation that safeguards flood protection and drainage scheme assets from damage or misuse.

The bylaw applies to drains, pumping stations, defences against water – including stopbanks, floodwalls and stoplogs – river edge protection works and floodways owned or under the management of council.

Project manager Toni Briggs says these assets have been constructed over the years to protect people, property and livelihoods from river flooding and problems associated with a lack of land drainage.

“The Local Government Act (2002) requires council to carry out a comprehensive review of its bylaws every 10 years to ensure they are still relevant and fit for purpose.

“We’re working hard to ensure that those who need to know are aware of the review, and at the same time, raising awareness of the bylaw and what it means to people who live and work in proximity to the margins of our river schemes.”

The Floodway and Drainage Bylaw applies to land adjoining the region’s flood protection and drainage scheme assets. This means the bylaw and its requirements could be of interest to many rural and urban landowners, hapu and iwi, farmers and orchardists, grazing lease-holders, local authorities, contractors, river users, commercial organisations and the wider general public.”

Key changes

The key proposed changes are: strengthening clauses related to stock access to drains; extending the bylaw applicable areas for earthworks in relation to defences against water; strengthening clauses related to safeguarding erosion protection assets. For example, river edge plantings, buffer zone plantings, trenched willows, rock protection and, fencing.

Others changes are additional clauses related to fencing, ploughing and land use intensification in areas with pumiceous soils – the lower reaches of the Kaituna, Tarawera and Rangitaiki Rivers; identification of additional floodways to be safeguarded by the Floodway and Drainage Bylaw; strengthening compliance and enforcement provisions and processes; and no longer charging a standard fee for bylaw authority applications.

 “We want to have feedback on the change proposals to help shape the bylaw. All the details of the proposed changes, and a copy of the current bylaw are available on the project webpage,” says Toni.

Informal discussions with stakeholders have begun, and open days were held in Opotiki, Whakatane, Te Puke, Rotorua and Edgecumbe in November to discuss proposed changes with interested members of the public. Formal consultation is scheduled for March and April 2020, with a hearing likely in May or June before an updated Floodway and Drainage Bylaw is adopted by council in late-June 2020.

Feedback wanted

Feedback on the proposed changes can be made now by email to: Or by calling 0800 884 880 and speaking to the rivers and drainage assets manager. Or formal written submissions can be made once the draft Bylaw has been publically notified in April-May 2020.

Those wanting updates can sign up to the project page at:

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council currently looks after more than $350 million worth of flood protection assets. These include floodgates, pump stations, stopbanks and floodwalls which are part of a flood protection system designed to help manage river flows and collectively work to minimise flood risks.

Council manages flood protection systems in five major rivers and drainage schemes: the Kaituna Catchment Control Scheme, Rangitaiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme, Rangitaiki Drainage Scheme, Whakatane-Tauranga Rivers Scheme, and the Waioeka-Otara Rivers Scheme

Anyone who wants to carry out work in the vicinity of a flood protection asset must first apply for a bylaw authority. ‘Work’ could include constructing or demolishing a structure; undertaking earthworks; planting or removing trees, hedges or shrubs; installing a culvert or crossing in a scheme drain; intensive development of farm land – for example, for horticulture.

Council may issue bylaw authorities, often with specific conditions, to allow landowners to carry out works while minimising any impact on the flood protection assets.

To find out if the Floodway and Drainage Bylaw applies to your property, email: with ‘Does the FAD Bylaw apply to my property’ in the subject line and provide your full name, contact details (email and phone) and property address.

BOPRC will let you know if you are within a Floodway and Drainage applicable area and provide advice on applying for a bylaw authority if required.


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