Saturday, August 19, 2017
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Review will provide answers

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The Edgecumbe flood was a very big event – well over the capacity of the flood schemes, says Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s general manager, integrated catchments, Chris Ingle.

“Ex-cyclone Debbie rainfall levels were very high and on the Rangitaiki, sites logged between 200-320mm in 48 hours. The Matahina dam was lowered well below the ‘design flood level’ in advance of the storm and was able to slow the spill from the dam to around 780 cubic metres per second while the inflow to the dam was around 950 cubic metres.

“We also know that the spillway was operating in advance of the breach at Edgecumbe but the independent review will better determine whether it could have done more; (a digger was sent out later to cut further into the bank to get more water running through).”

He is responding to comments by David Law and Ian Kinvig about management of the floods.

Chris says the independent review commissioned by council into the floods will be able to look at the whole picture to provide answers to many of those questions when all the information has been considered.

“I visited Edgecumbe immediately after the breach and later on during the recovery. I saw first-hand the loss for the residents and the extent of the damage. I understand why people are looking to council for answers about why and how the breach happened.

“In order to better understand the many complicated and interacting factors involved, council commissioned an independent review of the infrastructure and the circumstances that led to the breach of the flood wall and associated flooding. The terms of reference and panel members are currently being established and we will know more when that review gets underway.

“It is worth noting that Bay of Plenty Regional Council has and uses an incredible amount of data from more than 100 sites around the region from the top of the catchment all the way out to the wave buoy in the Bay.

“Remote and automated sites throughout the catchments provide real-time information on rainfall, temperature, air quality, river levels and flow. In addition, we have staff out actively monitoring river levels and flows during an event such as Cyclones Debbie and Cook. Much of this is publically available live on our website.

“While I appreciate that many people are looking for answers at this time, the review will be able to collect information and thoroughly and independently answer many of these questions,” says Chris.


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