Foxton community invited to discuss flood protection upgrades

Horizons Regional Council is inviting the Foxton community to join them at the end of the week to discuss flood protection upgrades underway for the town.

Foxton has historically been affected by flooding on a regular basis due to runoff from farmland east of the township overwhelming the existing drainage scheme and an undersized stormwater network.
Horizons river management projects team leader Shaun Edwards says Horizons and Horowhenua District Council have been jointly responding to the issue via Te Awahou Foxton Climate Resilience Project.
“The project concentrates on the first issue, diverting runoff away from Foxton township and storing it on low-lying rural land south of the township until it can gravitate or be pumped out into the Foxton Loop,” says Mr Edwards.
“Dealing with the currently undersized Foxton East Drainage Scheme will prevent overflows from getting into the local stormwater network, leaving more capacity available for draining localised surface flooding. This means less flooding in Foxton township during large storm events.”
Mr Edwards says Horizons councillors and staff have started the consultation process for the project by meeting with iwi and affected landowners and are now at the stage of talking to the wider community.
“As works will have a rating impact on the wider community, as well as directly impacted parties, we are holding drop in sessions at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 December from 10am-12pm.
“Project manager Diandri van Zyl and I will be available to talk about the project and answer any questions residents may have. The project has been through a few iterations since initially proposed in 2018 so we’re keen for people to understand where we’ve got to.
“Another change from the initial proposal is including funding from central government which has contributed approximately 60 per cent of the project cost and made it far more affordable for the community.”
In 2020, central government’s budget included $210 million for climate resilience and flood protection projects across New Zealand. This funding formed part of government’s response to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Horizons Regional Council received $26.9 million of this funding from Kānoa, the government’s Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (REDIU) for four climate resilience projects. The estimated total cost of these four projects is $38.4 million with Horizons share being $9 million.
This collaborative funding has enabled Council to accelerate work on the Te Awahou Foxton Climate Resilience Project. $6.525 million of this project funding is coming from Kānoa – REDIU with Horizons and Horowhenua District Council making up most of the remaining $11.2 million cost.
This project is intended to have positive environmental and social outcomes for the Foxton township. It will not only assist in protecting people and properties, but also help boost the local economy through new employment opportunities and contracts as work on maintaining and building new infrastructure progresses.
Foxton ratepayers have received information about the project via direct mail this week, however this is detail is also available here or by
In Horizons’ 2018-28 Long-term Plan, a new pipeline down Cook Street, linking the Kings Canal drain on the east side of the town with the Foxton Loop, was identified as the best solution to the drainage issues that affect Foxton.
However, when this was reviewed by an external consultant (E2 Environmental) in 2020 it was decided it was not practical to lay a large pipe through the Cook Street residential area. This resulted in Horizons re-evaluating options, during which time central government climate resilience funding became available and broadened possibilities.
Thanks to the new funding arrangement with Kānoa, Horizons has been enabled to explore a more viable mitigation strategy which diverts runoff away from Foxton township during large storm events and temporarily stores it on low lying farmland at the bottom of the Whirokino Scheme. At some points this land is half a metre below sea level and with the expectation of climate change bringing more rain, flood events are likely to increase in this area.
Although this proposal means an additional volume of runoff will be stored in the Lower Whirokino in larger storm events, a new pumpstation shared with the Lower Manawatū Scheme would pump water out faster, returning most farmland to pre-flood water levels sooner than is currently possible.
The current Hokorawa Stream culvert is old and too small to cope with large flood events. To address this issue, an additional upgraded culvert will be constructed, slightly to the north from the existing culvert under State Highway 1. As well as being a more effective way of passing flows under State Highway 1, the additional upgraded culvert will give us the opportunity to remove barriers to fish passage and increase biodiversity in the drainage channel.