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Home > Our region and environment > Rivers and Drainage

Rivers and Drainage

The Bay of Plenty region has ten major rivers that flow into the Bay - Wairoa, Kaituna, Tarawera, Rangitaiki, Whakatane, Waioeka, Otara, Motu, Raukokore and Whangaparaoa Rivers.

Schemes have been put in place for many of the Bay of Plenty rivers and streams to protect communities from flooding. 

Rivers and Drainage Schemes

We are responsible for managing five major and 37 minor rivers and drainage schemes to ensure our communities are protected from flooding.  Our responsibilities include maintaining and improving stop banks, floodways, level control stuctures, floodgates, erosion control structures, pump stations, canals and drains.

April 2017 Flood Repairs

Two extreme weather events in early April 2017 brought prolonged torrential rain to the Bay of Plenty. The resulting record high river levels and extensive flooding caused significant damage to river and drainage networks and assets across the region.

Find out how we are repairing the damage to protect people, property and livelihoods.

Rangitaiki Floodway Project

Rangitāiki Floodway Project  is a multi-stage project to take pressure off the flood-prone Rangitāiki River. This will be done by diverting some of its flow to a waterway known as Rangitāiki Floodway.

Rivers Scheme Advisory Groups

There are four rivers scheme advisory groups that enable effective communication and liaison between scheme ratepayers and Bay of Plenty Regional Council councillors and staff. The advisory groups represent scheme ratepayers and their views on scheme matters. For more information, including membership and meeting notes, look at the individual scheme links above.

Rivers and Drainage Asset Management Plan

The way we plan to repair and maintain our flood protection and control structures is set out in the Rivers and Drainage Asset Management Plan. This covers all the river schemes we have in place and our plans for their management over the next 50 years. 

Flood Management and River Levels

Read more about automated flood warnings and the contact details for the Duty Flood Manager.

Keeping rivers clean

Water quality in Bay of Plenty rivers is mostly good, but it’s under increasing pressure and needs improvement in some locations. Regional Council is investing more than $30 million each year into work with local people to care for the region’s waterways. See river water quality monitoring results at

Land run-off and certain weather conditions can cause elevated levels of E.coli bacteria or blue-green algae in some local rivers. Check with Toi te Ora Public Health for current health warnings, and avoid swimming in rivers for 48 hours (two days) after heavy or prolonged rain. 

Kaituna River and Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary Strategy

The draft Kaituna River and Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary Strategy sets out why people value the Kaituna River and Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary; their concerns and a vision for its future.

Management of the Kaituna River is affected by the operation of the Okere Gates.  Find out more about the Okere Gates here

Macroinvertebrate Monitoring

By monitoring macroinvertebrates, Bay of Plenty Regional Council can monitor the health of the region's waterways.