14 June 2017

Now two months since the major flooding events of April, Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Rivers and Drainage Manager reminded the rural community that flood works would take time and repairs were moving as quickly as possible.

The two major storm events in April, particularly the high rainfall and river flows of ex-cyclone Debbie, saw the flood protection network in the Bay of Plenty pushed beyond its design limits and significant damage along most river systems.

Council staff are currently working to assess that damage and prioritise repair works with more than 600 sites investigated so far and repairs likely to cost in the millions of dollars. Rivers and Drainage Manager, Bruce Crabbe explained.

“We have around 250km of stopbanks across the region and other flood protection assets, many of which were hard-hit by the two storm systems in April. In the weeks since the events, we have been very busy with emergency repairs, assessing the damage to the systems and working to pull that information into a restoration plan. That plan will give us a good picture of the damage, put dollar figures next to repairs, and prioritise works.

“We are now well into the wet-weather months and as always, it can be difficult to get a window for construction at this time of year. Some works may have to wait until ground conditions improve to get machinery working at those sites.

“For urgent repairs, we may also be working on our rivers during periods that we would normally prefer to keep out of the waterways, for example whitebait spawning season or eel migration.  Where repairs are urgent, we may still need to carry out the work but we will ensure we do so in line with the Regional Land and Water Plan and with as little impact as possible,” Mr Crabbe said.