Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hawke’s Bay pump stations up and running

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council says crews are making good progress in restoring vital flood infrastructure, with most pump stations along local drainage systems now restored.

Regional Council Asset Management Group Manager, Chris Dolley says staff have been working long hours to restore pump stations, stop banks and rainfall monitoring.

“All pump stations are up and running, with the exception of Brookfields in Meeanee, which is being repaired,” he said.

The council is using a fleet of 40 diesel pumps to supplement pumping and pumping out pooled water in flood affected areas, including the Awatoto supplementing Mission pump station, Awatoto via Maraenui Golf Course, Waiohiki Links Road and Pakowhai.

“We are also pumping out Makara Dam, which is a flood detention dam and normally empty,” says Mr Dolley.

The Council has restored 99% of the instruments used for rainfall and river monitoring, and the team is now focusing on permanent replacements where a temporary system has been put in place. Today, staff are installing water level gauges in the Wairoa district.

A secondary radar and communication system is being installed in the Esk valley at Waipunga bridge this week to improve  river level information.

A crew of 160 have completed rapid repairs to three breached stopbanks are complete, with others well-underway, says Mr Dolley.

Temporary protection in the form of bunding (banks of gravel) has been put in place at most sites and further protection is being added this week in the form of waterproof plastic wrapping.

“Permanent repairs will take some months, but we are working as quickly as possible on these temporary fixes to ensure our flood protection network is restored,” he says.

Stopbank breaches occured in over 30 places, mostly on the Tūtaekurī and Ngaruroro Rivers between Napier and Hastings, and five on the Waipawa River in Central Hawke’s Bay. 

In some cases, stopbanks were breached by the force of water, while in other areas stopbanks were over-topped.Repairs have been completed on three stopbanks – the Maraenui Golf Course, Allen Road and Taradale.

Eleven other priority stopbank rebuild sites are well underway, and two of these should be completed by next week, said Mr Dolley.

Other breaches are in the planning and preparation stages and will be progressively completed in the next few months.

“Obtaining suitable material for the priority stopbank repairs continues to be the highest priority, and we will aim to make permanent repairs where we can.”

The Regional Council has sampled potential borrow sites for rebuild soil material, and have staff deployed across sites needing repair. Each of the 21 repair sites have a dedicated pod of self-contained work staff to ensure repairs are done promptly and effectively, and these crews are making use of information from previous planning for stopbank upgrades, Mr Dolley said.

“The arrival of Environment Southland engineering staff soon will be of great assistance and help us make steady progress towards getting our flood protection to a high level of service ahead of winter,” he said.

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