Flood inundation and broader ecosystem service modelling in a data-sparse catchment; application of LUCI to Marokopa, NZ
Event magnitude, societal vulnerability, and exposure define hazard impact. In New Zealand, flooding is the most common and damaging hazard at the decadal scale. Residents within the Marokopa catchment (west coast of the Waikato region) identify flood and erosion as significant local hazards. Flooding is influenced by a diverse range in factors, from environmental factors in the catchment, such as hydrology and climate, to socio-political policies and community awareness. Each of these factors is themselves influenced by climate change, and therefore requires study at the local and national scales. A mixed-methods approach was used to analyse flood and erosion through application of the Land Use and Capability Indicator (LUCI). Qualitative analysis along with rainfall-runoff, inundation, and holistic ecosystem service (ES) modelling are used to evaluate both flood and erosion extent, but also influencing factors. This research used a unique, mixed-methods approach to research a traditionally quantitative topic, improve on the understanding of karstic rainfall-runoff modelling and support LUCI development through application in a geomorphologically distinct location. Local knowledge facilitated both temporal and spatial outlining of flood and erosion extent at macro and catchment-scales. Bespoke rainfall-runoff modelling of the Marokopa upper catchment defined localised rainfall, seasonality and the karstic system as significant influences on runoff, with poor to excellent model-fit. Preliminary inundation findings outlined tidal, upper catchment bank-overflow, and overland flow as significant mechanisms of flooding. Finally, flood and erosion mitigation ecosystem services were modelled, with synergistic comparisons also analysed. Priority areas for future land management and hazard mitigation investment include the Marokopa floodplains ~5 km inland from the coast. Novel integration of physical and social observations outlines current flood risk extent and evaluates factors which contribute to flooding, providing a thorough knowledge base for future flood modelling within the Marokopa catchment.