Focus on risk of flooding

Those living and working in flood-prone businesses and households will be reminded of the risk this week when staff from the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Otago Regional Council start their annual flood awareness campaign.

Their annual walkabout, on Thursday, is in its third year and evolved from the two councils developing a joint flood risk management strategy for Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka in 2005.

People would be reminded of what information was available to help prepare for and respond to a flood.

Otago Regional Council director of environmental engineering and natural hazards, Dr Gavin Palmer, said the walkabout was timed to coincide with the potential flood season.

"It's an opportunity for us to update our contact databases, promote the ability of property owners and businesses to self-monitor lake levels through the Otago Regional Council website, and to remind businesses to clean out grease traps, dust off their flood plans and be ready to respond proactively when floods threaten," he said.

In 1999, communities around Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka experienced their second-most severe flood.

"We want to help the communities to be ready to manage the exposure to flood risk rather than try and avoid or limit these risks through engineered alteration of the physical environment."

The walkabout, in the flood-prone zones of the Queenstown and Wanaka central business districts, is part of the Learning to Live with Flooding: Flood Risk Management Strategy.

The council's emergency management officer, Jon Mitchell, will visit Glenorchy and Kingston to deliver information.