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Stormwater Improvements

Stormwater Level of Service

Through the 2015-25 Long Term Plan process, Council adopted an approach to flood (stormwater) risk management (intense rainfall events) primarily for implementation in older more established areas of the city.  This approach provides for the following:

  • A ‘safety to persons’ focussed level of service;
  • Regulation and policy amendment to ensure no increased risk occurs, and over time risk is reduced;
  • Education to enable private individuals to make informed decisions;
  • Residual risk and emergency management to ensure an appropriate service is provided to flood affected landowners following flood events; and,
  • Reactive response capacity to aid flood affected landowners following flood events.

The ‘safety to persons’ level of service effectively results in the highest priority being placed on areas having the highest number of at-risk properties where flood flows exceed a depth x velocity threshold in residential and rural residential zoned private property. The next highest priority is placed on those areas having the highest number of non-residential/non-rural residential private properties.

This level of service does not provide for a reduction in the risk of flood-related damage to buildings, does not allow for changing climate conditions nor does it address the risk of flooding from rivers or stream.

Stormwater Reactive Reserve Fund

To increase its reactive response capacity, Council established a ‘Reactive Reserve Fund’ to support the community in post flood response.  This reactive response and associated use of the fund is delivered by Council through a Stormwater Reactive Reserve Fund Policy, which has been established to support the community in a variety of risk reduction methods and responses following intense rainfall events that result in flooding. This reserve fund is complimentary to the implementation of the level of service but is not a fund to implement it.  The fund is intended to address the following:

  • Emergency response and recovery;
  • Clean-up costs;
  • Initiatives on private and public land to enable stormwater to be conveyed away from at risk areas;
  • Reducing the risk of flooding;
  • Potential property purchase; and,
  • Infrastructure delivery or mitigation implementation where co-funding arrangements are proposed.

Stormwater Reactive Reserve Fund Documents

Stormwater Reactive Reseve Fund Online Application Form

Stormwater Reactive Reserve Fund Application Form (237kb pdf)

Guidance notes for Stormwater Reactive Reserve Fund Application (107kb pdf)

Stormwater Reactive Reserve Fund Policy (186kb pdf)

More about stormwater

Stormwater is the water that runs off surfaces such as houses, roads, driveways and footpaths when it rains. In the city it runs down drains into stormwater pipes or channels and is carried to the sea.  Changing weather patterns and the effects of climate change are leading to longer and heavier bursts of rain that can overwhelm systems and increase the risk of flooding.

Stormwater is traditionally piped away from buildings, roads and carparks. The pipes discharge the stormwater into the nearest waterway (e.g. stream, beach, harbour, wetland). It is usually not treated in any way. Beneath our city streets, there is a complex network of stormwater pipes that carry stormwater downhill to discharge points. For most, the only visible signs of this network are the familiar kerb drains and perhaps pipes at the local beach.


The two main risks in the city are the amount and the quality of stormwater, and their respective effects.

Flood risk areas

Most flooding and stormwater issues tend to occur within older, established areas of the city constructed prior to 1990, or where inappropriate residential development occurred in low lying parts of the city prior to 1989. This particularly applies to houses that were built in the bottom of gullies in Tauranga and in the base of swales between dunes on the Coastal Strip, or to buildings (mainly industrial) built on old swampy harbourside sites in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga.


Stormwater is contaminated by air pollution, herbicides, garden fertilisers, rotting lawn clippings, motor vehicles, detergent from car washing, domestic animal faeces, or illegal and accidental spills/dumping into stormwater drains. Our modern lifestyle contributes to stormwater pollution, often unwittingly.

What do we do to reduce the risk of flooding?

TCC has three 35-year consents for stormwater structures and managing discharges from across the city. TCC has developed city-wide catchment management plans to deal with stormwater and stormwater quality issues as they arise. These also provide a programme of renewals and maintenance of existing stormwater infrastructure so we make sure the system is fit for purpose.  

What structures do we have in place? 

  • 512km of stormwater mains
  • 2 stormwater pump stations
  • 43ha of ponds and wetlands
  • 122 stormwater ponds
  • 71km of identified overland flowpaths in public and private ownership
  • 53,230 properties are serviced

Stormwater works

Stormwater works vary depending on the issue we need to resolve. Often they will include the construction of large infrastructure pipes underground. They can also involve reshaping roads to convey the water away from private property (these are called inverted roads).  








What can you do to prevent flooding on private property?

There are many ways to reduce the risk of flooding on private property. These include using rain tanks, limiting the amount of paved surfaces on your property, and regularly cleaning out guttering and soakage holes. All of these will help reduce the risk of flooding.

What do we do to prevent stormwater pollution?

To prevent contamination of stormwater we need to create awareness within our community. Here are a couple of initiatives we have led to put this message across:

Stormwater signs in reserves

Council has produced a series of four signs covering what stormwater ponds are for, how they work, and ways people can prevent stormwater pollution. You can find these in Gordon Carmichael Reserve, Bethlehem Wetlands, Carlton Street Reserve and Matua Salt Marsh as well as at three separate locations in Papamoa. Poster versions of the signs are also available.

Dolphins on Drains

The Dolphins on Drains programme is designed to reinforce the message that “The Drain is Just for Rain”. 

2014/15 Annual Plan
Flood Hazard Mapping 
Flooding and heavy rain warnings

Last Reviewed: 15/03/2017