Rapid repairs of around five kilometres of stopbank breaches on the Ngaruroro and Tutaekuri rivers have been completed by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
Council Chair, Hinewai Ormsby said the work marks a significant milestone, three months on from Cyclone Gabrielle.
“These repairs were an absolute focus for the Regional Council, and have been completed in a short time frame, thanks to the hard work of a dedicated team of contractors and consultants, all of whom were motivated to get it done, to protect our community,” said Chair Ormsby.
Cyclone Gabrielle brought unprecedented flooding which caused around 5.6 kms of breaches in the 248km stopbank network, and further parts of the network were damaged by erosion.
Council’s Jon Kingsford, who led the Rapid Repair Team, says they took gravel from areas near breach sites to build the core of the stopbank, and then put in place a silt or clay cap, a topsoil layer and then a grass layer on top.
“The grass is important to make sure those layers bind together and resist any flow of river across that surface,” he says.
Crews are currently working by Central Hawke’s Bay rivers to finish the repair of stopbank breaches. They will then move on to repair scour and erosion sites.
“While the hard work to close the big holes in the stopbanks is done, we still have work ahead to ensure that our stopbanks are back to pre-cyclone standard.”
“I do want to thank the fantastic support we have received from our local contractors and consultants, and those who came to work with us from outside the region. We couldn’t have done this without them.”
Chair Ormsby says the Regional Council review of the flood scheme will look at the ways it might be improved so the scheme can behave in a known way during large flooding events, and this may include changes such as secondary flow paths or catchment detention.
“We will do this in collaboration with our community and will gather feedback from people who were impacted by the cyclone,” she says.