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But what work is done to maintain the Lower Taieri Flood Protection Scheme is subject to a review that begins with two community workshops in Outram today.
ORC engineering manager Michelle Mifflin said in this early stage the ORC wanted people to know the infrastructure renewal would be a collaborative process between the council and affected communities.
"We want to listen first, and encourage participation in this process as it progresses over the next eight months," Ms Mifflin said.
Following the workshops the council would begin a more detailed feedback process, likely involving further community meetings, she said.
Issues included ageing infrastructure, growth and development within the floodplain, changing river dynamics, and climate change.
Residents were highly invested in the work, because it had the potential to affect their homes and livelihoods, Ms Mifflin said.
A large flood could affect not only the neighbouring farming communities, but also residents in Mosgiel, Outram, and Momona, and key regional infrastructure, including Dunedin Airport.
"We live in a rapidly changing environment, including changing river dynamics, which means we need to constantly review our protection against the hazards that nature throws at us."
Flood protection works in the Taieri Plain dates back to 1870 and, in parts, the lower Taieri Flood Protection Scheme is up to 150 years old, the ORC said.
The flood protection scheme for the lower Taieri provides protection against floods for an area of about 13,000ha.
About 6082ha of land protected by the scheme is at or below 1m above mean sea level.
The scheme includes 107km of floodbanks and associated infrastructure that links in with the East and West Taieri Drainage Schemes.
It protects against flooding in the lower Taieri River, the Waipori River, Silver Stream and Owhiro Stream.
An ORC spokeswoman said $450,000 had been set aside in years 1 to 3 of the ORC’s 2021-31 long-term plan to conduct the review.
The forecast spending over the next 30 years was $18 million on capital and $29million on operational expenses, she said.