Flooding breaches evacuee’s home
Deborah Buchanan’s Christchurch home remains surrounded by water, despite floodwater having drained from many of her neighbour’s properties.
She returned to Clarendon Tce in Woolston yesterday after being one of two evacuees to whom the Christchurch City Council had provided accommodation the night before.
Buchanan said water started pouring into the property during high tide on Friday. ‘‘I was in my bedroom and I was startled by the sound of rushing water . . . I looked out the window and water was just flooding into the property.
‘‘I quickly gathered everything up and tried to put it high up.’’
The house is awaiting its eventual earthquake-related rebuild – to be done with much higher foundations.
In the meantime, she is staying in the house, which is lower-lying than others in the area and with a boundary mere metres from the Heathcote River.
The Christchurch City Council issued an ‘‘urgent’’ evacuation notice for several streets, including Clarendon Tce, just after 2pm on Saturday.
Buchanan, concerned about the rising water level, said she had selfevacuated about two hours earlier. When she got to the Linwood College evacuation centre, she was one of the first there.
By the time she got home yesterday, floodwaters had receded by about half, dropping to a foot of murky, brown water around the house’s foundations.
Dampness still darkened the floorboard joins in a room where a mattress sat atop a table and a suitcase had been put in a wheelbarrow.
The lower shelves of a cabinet remained cleared, with books and ornaments sprawled above.
Buchanan said she wanted to see more done to fix the area’s flooding issues. Even with a new home, the property would remain susceptible when the river breached its banks. ‘‘In my opinion, my land has dropped and the [Clarendon Tce side of] the riverbed has risen up since the earthquakes.’’
Council land drainage manager Keith Davidson said a land drainage recovery programme was being fast-tracked to reduce flooding problems.
The programme had identified four basins in the upper Heathcote area, which could provide an extra 800,000 cubic metres of storage.
‘‘The first stage of the Eastland Wetland basin is operational and has functioned well in the storm event. The second basin is under construction,’’ Davidson said.
Two more were being designed and construction would start in summer, he said.
A pump station was being built in Richardson Tce, on the other side of the river to Buchanan’s home, along with two new storage basins to benefit the area her house is located in.
These were expected to be operational early next year, Davidson said.