A network of pumping stations could be deployed to
protect parts of South Dunedin from a rising groundwater table,
the Dunedin City Council says.
The idea is among solutions being considered by the council
in response to a more detailed assessment of the city's
The proposals could also see new areas of development opened
up on higher ground on parts of Otago Peninsula, to allow
existing communities to spread uphill.
Developers could also be required to build relocatable houses
in areas threatened by rising sea levels, allowing them to be
moved out of harm's way in future, the council has suggested.
The ideas were among a host of proposals - ranging from new
rules on minimum floor levels to a complete ban on new
developments - released to media yesterday.
However, while much of the city would be covered by new
hazard overlay zones - identifying the threats and planning
responses - the same was not true for South Dunedin.
Cr David Benson-Pope, chairman of the council's planning and
regulatory committee, said a large chunk of the city - from
the harbour basin across South Dunedin to St Clair - was
instead being treated as a special case.
The ''big issue'' facing the area as a result of climate
change and sea-level rise was not the protection of
Portsmouth Dr, but rather a rising groundwater table, he
A report from consultant engineering firm Beca, detailing
potential solutions, would be considered by councillors next
month, and the ''predominant suggestion'' was a network of
pumping stations in the area, he said.
Cr Benson-Pope said the option was ''quite manageable'' but
would come at a ''significant'' cost, although he could not
yet divulge details.
Otago Regional Council engineering, hazards and science
director Gavin Palmer said the regional council was still
''to form an opinion'' on the idea, which would be entirely
different from the pumping system which drained surface water
from the Taieri Plain.
In the meantime, the DCC also wanted to restrict development
in the area, so it did not ''significantly'' increase from
Council policy planner Sally Dicey said the council was also
in talks with Maori landowners on Otago Peninsula, to see if
existing communities could expand ''further up the hill,
The idea of requiring relocatable homes to be built in
coastal areas threatened by sea-level rise was also proposed.
Cr Benson-Pope said the idea was ''entirely sensible'', and
was already done in some parts of the North Island, but it
was too soon to say whether Dunedin would follow suit.