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Strategic stormwater planning

‘Borck Creek – Strategic stormwater planning’ was one of the papers presented at the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference in Nelson earlier this year. By Chris Blythe (Tasman District Council) & James Tomkinson (MWH Global).

This is a case study of the future-proofing of the stormwater infrastructure for Richmond, the largest town in the Tasman District. Borck Creek is one of the critical watercourses in the Richmond catchment serving a 1400 hectare catchment area. It has gone through a significant journey of planning to secure a corridor not only for the use of stormwater relief, but also providing public amenity and ecological value.
Our full paper on this covers:

  • A review of Richmond’s flooding issues – key project driver;
  • Programme planning process;
  • Description of project implementation for the current work; and
  • Lessons learned.

Although these types of projects appear straightforward in their engineering and construction requirements, they can be the most complex to undertake owing to the range of differing needs from a large number of stakeholders.
The Tasman District is one of the fastest growing regions in New Zealand and has historically experienced a shortage of available land for future residential and business growth. In 2006, the council started planning for Richmond’s future by re-zoning 300 hectares of land for future development.

Tiakina planting
Tiakina planting.

Borck Creek_Strategic Stormwater PlanningAs part of this process Borck Creek was identified as a critical stormwater drainage corridor by the council, and there was strong support for public amenity and ecological improvements in the corridor.
Subsequent stormwater modelling of the Richmond catchment demonstrated that Borck Creek was a critical drainage corridor for the easing of Richmond’s flooding problems.
The upgrade of Borck Creek has taken some years to reach construction, and the recent restructure of Tasman District Council’s engineering services created an opportunity to give the programme a renewed impetus. Residential subdivision in the land around the lower reaches of Borck Creek also created a need to improve the stormwater capacity.
In 2015-16, approximately two kilometres of watercourse was upgraded for stormwater discharge, with initial ecological improvements and space for future amenities. This project has seen a high level of cross-team collaboration to agree priorities and compromises in the collective ‘wish-list’.
The construction works has enabled the project team to develop a methodology template for planning and implementing the stream widening works. This was achieved by good collaboration with the contractor, fish ecologist and consent compliance team to ensure all concerns were thought through and managed as the project evolved. This can now be used to inform future stormwater upgrades within the region.
Borck Creek – Strategic stormwater planning, by Chris Blythe (Tasman District Council) & James Tomkinson (MWH Global).

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