The streets that keep flooding
Flood-stricken residents of one Christchurch suburb are sick of their properties filling with water during heavy rain and want the council to commit to a fix.
Sharleen Sorensen was born in Opawa and has lived in her current house for 13 years. It flooded three times in 2014.
Yesterday her Clarendon Tce property was about 30 centimetres underwater after the Heathcote River burst its banks on both sides. More than 48mm of rain had fallen in the city from 3am on Friday.
The 1.3 kilometre-long street was closed due to the flooding, one of several in the area. The water was nearly waist-deep in places.
Sorensen said she would like to see the Christchurch City Council (CCC) fix the flood-prone area.
‘‘Three years down the track, after the last flood, they still haven’t even come up with any concrete decisions about what they’re going to put out to tender.’’
She also wanted more support from the council.
‘‘Every time we’re flooded like this, no-one has come to check on us. People, and council people are coming to shut off the road and watch us repeatedly try to save our belongings and never offer us assistance.’’
‘‘We are living here, we’re paying our rates. What are we getting?’’
She said the road in front of her house flooded about twice a week at high tide.
CCC had been good at dealing with flood-prone Flockton Basin, but thought they were delaying a decision for her area to make sure they picked the right solution from the expensive options.
‘‘But unfortunately in the meantime, this is what’s happening to our property.’’
She said the regular flooding was ‘‘hugely’’ disruptive.
Whenever it rained heavily, Sorensen and her neighbours maintained phone contact to keep each other informed about water levels. This time, she said, the flooding had happened in less than half an hour.
Her house was raised 1.6 metres from the ground by insurance after the Canterbury earthquakes, so was mostly unaffected by the latest flooding, though two outdoor units for her heat pumps were underwater.
The area underneath her house was used for storage and several low value, but irreplaceable, items had been wrecked by water.
Sorensen was more worried about her garage, which was about 2.5 centimetres away from being flooded.
She was expecting to spend the weekend cleaning up her land.
‘‘After the floods in 2014, you were left with a greasy powdery film over everything; that was basically dried faeces and it lasted about a year. You just couldn’t get rid of it, it was disgusting.’’
CCC land drainage manager Keith Davison said staff had been out there and were responding the best way they could.
‘‘This unusual storm surge was totally unexpected. It was the equivalent to a record high tide.
‘‘We had planned and prepared for the rain event but the storm surge was totally unexpected.’’
Though Sorensen said the flooding was ‘‘stressful and frustrating’’, she had no plans to move.
‘‘I grew up in this area, and I’ve lived here all my life . . . and I refuse to let the inefficiency of the council push me out.’’