Cash to help fix flood-hit region
A total of $1.16 million from the Waikato Regional Council disaster reserve fund is being used to help fix rainfall and flood-related damage caused by the three major weather systems that hit the region.
The integrated catchment management committee reviewed a report which warned the saturation of catchments caused by those events has left the region more vulnerable over winter.
Heavy rain bands termed ‘‘Tasman Tempest’’ hit the region in March followed by the impacts of ex-tropical cyclones Debbie and Cook in April. Rainfall was up to 450 per cent of the normal March average and up to 317 per cent of April averages.
The prolonged period of heavy rain resulted in ‘‘highly saturated soils and challenging flood management conditions’’, with farmers on the Hauraki Plains impacted as rivers rose to very high levels. The Waihou River at Te Aroha recorded its highest April levels and average levels for the Waikato River at Hamilton and Rangiriri exceeded previous maximums for the month.
While NIWA is predicting normal or below normal winter rainfall levels, the current elevated river levels and saturated catchments mean affected areas are at risk from ‘‘further high flows and flooding issues even given relatively moderate rainfall events’’, the report said.