Cash to help fix flood-hit re­gion

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place -

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.

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