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Log jams and drains being cleared before winter

Friday 21 April, 2023

A huge effort is underway around the region to clear drains, culverts and rivers before the arrival of winter.

Community Lifelines Director David Wilson says work is being done as quickly as possible over the next five weeks.

“We’re all grateful for the sunshine as it’s dried up the land and enabled large machinery to get to some of these places and get work underway.

“We haven’t been able to get to many places until now because the water table has been so high.

“Now we can clear these drains of silt so the land can drain.”

The Te Arai River is also a major focus for Council where five large log jams have been identified.

One was already cleared in March.

“We anticipate the other four log jams along the Te Arai River will be cleared before winter.

“Some sections still need to dry out further before heavy machinery can move in and we just have to hope for more dry weather.”

Mr Wilson says over May contractors will clear 5km of drains at Patutahi, with 4kms of drains to clear at Manutuke and Muriwai.

“Yesterday contractors started at Manutuke, and from today they’ll be at Opou Road before moving to Patutahi next week.

“We still have lots of work to do in the other areas of our region.

“We will keep you up to date with the work we’re doing.

“There are some areas where we need to understand the risks more before we can proceed.

“We also want to ensure we speak with communities before a solution has been reached.”

For example, work continues around the middle reaches of the Waipaoa River upstream of Te Karaka.

“This work is to identify what happened during Cyclone Gabrielle and to do flood spread mapping at Te Karaka. Then we can work out a solution with the community.

“Every community in our region has specific challenges and we want to work with them to get the right solutions.”

Mr Wilson says having the Waipaoa Flood Control Scheme completed before Cyclone Gabrielle “saved the city”.

“I cannot underestimate this. The flood banks were raised by 1 to 1.5 metres.

“Cyclone Gabrielle flood levels were an extra two metres above Cyclone Bola so if this hadn’t been done there would have been a metre of water over the Poverty Bay Flats and coming into the city from that side.”

Log jams to clear along Te Arai River

Te Arai River log jams cleared over May

Log jams along Te Arai River

Te Arai River log jams

Te Arai River logs for removal

Te Arai River log jam 6