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Eastern Bay of Plenty flood update

Eastern Bay of Plenty flood update

Much of the Rangitaiki Plains, and parts of Whakatane township, are still under water but the rain has stopped and the main danger appears to have passed from major flooding in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

Both the Whakatane and Rangitaiki Rivers are still running very high and Environment Bay of Plenty is carefully monitoring stopbanks, which have been under tremendous pressure over the past few days.

Bruce Fraser, group manager community relations, says staff are now working on “the quickest and safest ways to get flood water off farmland and out to sea”.

Whakatane River peaked early on Sunday morning at around 7 metres above normal levels at the Valley Road gauge just above the Whakatane township.

Whakatane peak flood flow was significantly in excess of the 100-year flood flow of 2820 cubic metres per second

Whakatane is receding slowly and at 4am was still 5.4 metres above normal levels. These high levels are restricting drainage of floodwaters from Whakatane township.

The Rangitaiki River peaked at more than 5 metres above normal late Sunday afternoon. At its peak 740 cubic metres per second of floodwaters were being released from Matahina Dam. For a period floodwaters were also detained at Aniwhenua Dam to reduce pressures on flooding downstream.

Trustpower have now reduced the flows to 576 cubic metres per second and there are now no concerns on flooding to Edgecumbe.

The peak flow on the Rangitaiki River was almost exactly a 100-year flood size.

A breach of a stopbank on the opposite bank of the Rangitaiki River has sent floodwaters across farmland and through part of the Fonterra dairy factory. This has resulted in closures of local roads including Hydro Road, Awakeri-Edgecumbe Road and East Bank Road. These floodwaters have reached close to the Thornton highway and houses in that vicinity were evacuated as a precautionary measure during the night. However, the highway may well remain open.

Environment Bay of Plenty formed a temporary stopbank around the Horizons substation to reduce inundation late Sunday. This was breached and reinstalled in very difficult condition during the night and subsequently levels lowered by contractor and Edgecumbe fire service pumps. This substation is critical to supply of power to the entire eastern Bay of Plenty.

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