Decision-making for Living in Flood-prone Areas
On the 26th April 2006, a small community was flooded by the overflow of water from the Silver Stream on the Taieri flood-plain, Otago, New Zealand. The flood event has raised questions as to why people live in these flood-prone areas and do they comprehend the risk of living here? This research seeks to answer these questions by assessing the way residents investigated the flood risk when they purchased their property, investigating their perception of the flood hazard and looking at the types of effects residents suffered from the flood event.Since the flood in 2006, the Silver Stream has threatened to flood again on numerous occasions. The Taieri flood-plain has long history with flooding, but most of which is associated with the Taieri River, a larger river located south of the Silver Stream. In response to significant flooding in the 1980’s, flood control schemes were initiated to protect areas of the Taieri. The design of the flood control scheme on the Silver Stream was to allow for a spillway, just below Gordon Road to protect the main residential development in Mosgiel. Despite this design, houses are located in the direct line of the Silver Stream spillway. The research found that residents were reluctant to access all available sources of hazard information when purchasing their property. There was a weak relationship between the Otago Regional Council and the Dunedin City Council which affected the quality of information moving between the two councils. Because many residents were reliant on locally sourced hazard information, their perception of the risk and their awareness of the hazard were often inconsistent with the reports produced by the councils. A series of narratives were found through the community, each telling a variation on the 2006 flood event. The effects from the 2006 flood were also varied. It was evident that the emotional strain of the flood was still felt among some residents.
Advisor: Fitzsimons, Sean
Degree Name: Master of Planning
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Planning; Flooding; Hazard Management; Risk; Silver Stream; Otago; Risk communication
Research Type: Thesis