eCoast Director Shaw Mead is well underway with leading a team effort on the Owhiro Bay Coastal Engineering Options Assessment. Owhiro Bay is on the Wellington South Coast, and experiences over-topping of large waves onto Owhiro Bay Parade and into properties.

An extreme event on 15 April 2020 damaged a number of properties and vehicles, as well as hospitalising a resident.  This event, along with similar cases in the past, prompted the Wellington City Council and Owhiro Community Committee to seek expert advice to look into options to reduce and/or prevent this dangerous situation in the future.

The project is community-led, with eCoast providing the expert advice as to what are the feasible options that can be applied to the Bay by undertaking the following steps:

    1. Undertake a compressed MfE (2017) methodology that follows the 10-step decision cycle where community engagement is central to the process.
    2. Site Visit and Stakeholder Engagement.
    3. Collation and review of existing information/data.
    4. Identify and evaluate options.
    5. Present back to the Stakeholders to refine and select option(s).
    6. Provide a recommended implementation plan including monitoring and adaptive management

The project commenced in June of 2020, however, the second lockdown on 12 August has slowed the project down. This caused the planned community meeting being shifted to a group Zoom conference followed by a community questionnaire. Currently the project is at steps 3 and 4, with the community meeting to present back to the stakeholders and refine and select options planned for late February 2021.

(Image source: screen capture from https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/121021698/large-waves-waves-pummel-wellington-south-coast (NIKKI MACDONALD/STUFF))

‘The image shows the dangerous conditions with huge volumes of water being discharged onto the road on 15 April 2020.  Although the day was relatively calm, it was the ‘Perfect Storm’ with the peak of the 15 second long-period swell (with the long-period creating large wave set-up in the bay) having a significant wave height of 6.7 m and coinciding with a high spring tide, low pressure and an onshore wind.  This project is considering options to reduce the over-topping.’