Work has started in Kaeo which should help slow the flow when floods hit the often inundated town and its surrounds.

The $700,000 Northland Regional Council flood reduction scheme will include a one kilometre long network of three-metre high stopbanks.

Bruce Howse, NRC Land/Rivers Senior Programme Manager, said the aim is to protect the town from destructive, high speed floodwater rushing through but will not stop flooding from occurring.

"It is designed to deflect damaging, high-speed floodwaters away from the town with a series of stopbanks and essentially convert it into slow-speed 'back-water' flooding," Mr Howse said.

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Slowing the speed of future floods should make them much less damaging and dangerous and make it easier for residents to protect properties with sandbags and other tools like flood shutters, he said.

"Kaeo is built on a floodplain and has its position and local geography means a practical and affordable solution to stop flooding from happening completely is simply not possible," he said

The council secured legal easements across five properties to allow for the work.

The work is being funded via a roughly 50/50 split between central government ($386,000) and a targeted rate on approximately 2200 local properties.

In 2007 Kaeo was hit by two 100-year floods five months apart.

A 100-year flood is one that has a 1 per cent chance of occurring in any given year.