“My survey of Epsom Electorate residents post flood shows why the Council should be getting out of the aviation business and back into drainage,” says MP for Epsom David Seymour.

“The results of my Epsom Electorate survey show two thirds of respondents who were flooded had been aware of previous drainage issues in their street. One third were aware of complaints to Council about drainage issues in their street, including nearly half of those who were flooded.

“We are told that climate change made the flooding worse, and that’s true, but a more local analysis shows there are more urgent problems. As Auckland Council finalises its budget, it must upgrade its commitment to drain capacity and drain maintenance. In many cases people’s homes could have been saved if the drains were cleared, or if manhole covers weren’t blown off bringing water to the property.

“67 per cent of those surveyed said that their home or a home on their street was flooded. The average height of water was 97cm on January 27 and 65cm on January 31. On both nights, some respondents reported over 3m of water at their property. 42 per cent of respondents reported making an insurance claim.

“I have shared this survey with the Mayor and met with him. I have also sent it to our Local Councillors and Local Boards. I hope that they will heed this information and ensure that drain maintenance and drain capacity improves.

“The survey was sent to around six thousand Epsom households, and 284 responded in the month after the floods. I do not claim that it is a scientific survey, clearly those flooded were more likely to fill it out. However, it does contain valuable information about those affected.

“The survey includes many specific comments from respondents about their experiences of the floods. These include:

  • ‘Big manhole cover in the middle of my garden. January 31 house flooded again! In addition, the garden of the house next door was flooded, and water, through the gap in the driveway wall, also penetrated into my house! So far this year, my house has been flooded three times! There seems no drains around the street area. The major drain seems located at the intersection of Epsom Ave and Gillies Ave which didn’t function during the disaster.’
  • ‘Blocked drainage on King George causes water to flow around the back of the property into my property.’
  • ‘Drains are often clogged with tree debris. Drains unable to cope with heavy rain. One at the bottom of the street regularly flooded with heavy rain as most of the drains around Epsom are!’
  • ‘Manhole cover was lifted up and down during flood and now lid is off-placed. We've reported several times about sw drainage and cesspits but no action was done until today. The house is already located in the flood zone which means stormwater system was supposed to be designed to fit the requirement. However, maintenance was never organised, our driveway was always under water during rain season in winter.’

“A number of respondents also question whether infrastructure has kept up with intensification. When there is more roof area and less grass, there needs to be more drainage. It is especially important when it comes to the Labour National deal to intensify everywhere regardless of infrastructure. It’s essential that intensification plans take stock of flood risk in future, something that three-three-storey house law does not allow.

Most urgently, Council should vote today to get out of owning airport shares so they can get back into the basic activities ratepayers rely on them for, starting with drainage.

The survey results can be downloaded here.

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