Flooding is a natural process which occurs when river levels or lake levels are higher than the surrounding land, or when stormwater cannot drain away and builds up.
Flood risk is the size of the flood and the damage that occurs from a flood, for instance to homes or businesses, crops or pasture. Flood risks are different around the country, depending on the local circumstances. In some areas rainfall is greater, such as the West Coast of the South Island. In other areas towns and cities have been established on floodplains.
Flooding can have significant consequences for communities and individuals. These include community trauma and disruption, damage to property and infrastructure, business losses and economic hardship.
Managing flood risk is all of our responsibility, from central government to local government, to communities and individuals.
Flood risk is managed before, during and after floods. Importantly, we can reduce flood risk by taking action before floods happen by avoiding flood prone areas, protecting property and making sure there are warning systems in place. We also need to be prepared for when floods do occur. During a flood, management focuses on getting people and stock out of harms way. After a flood, ensuring people and communities recover from the flood is the more important management task.
For more information on flooding see:
Or contact the Ministry for the Environment by phoning (04) 439 7400 or email email@example.com, writing to PO Box 10362, Wellington.
Last updated: 22 August 2008