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Waikanae River has major flood

6 January 2005

Waikanae River has major flood

The Waikanae River on the Kapiti Coast had a flood approaching a 100-year return period magnitude, after heavy rainfall in the Tararua Ranges overnight.

Greater Wellington Regional Council flood protection engineer Phil Purves says, “The Waikanae River peaked around 380 cumecs above State Highway 1, at the Water Treatment Plant recording station, at 2.30 am. It was a significant flooding event – the largest since records began at this site in 1975.”

124mm of rain fell in the 12 hours to 6am in the headwaters of the Waikanae River, at the top of the Akatarawa Hill Road, with intensities of 74mm in a 3-hour period.

There were flooding problems at Otaihanga where about 20 houses were evacuated overnight. Also, floodwaters got in behind the recently completed flood protection works in this area and Greater Wellington is investigating the reasons for this.

“We are pleased, however, that recently built flood protection works on the Waikanae River, such as the Kauri-Puriri stopbank (Greenaway Road area) and the SH1 to Maple Lane river realignment works performed well and prevented further flood damage,” Mr Purves says.

The Otaki River experienced about a 40-year return period flood (1580 cumecs). There was 230mm of rain in the 12-hours to 6am, including 100mm in a 3-hour period.

Mr Purves says the river is flowing cleanly and there appears to have been little damage. The new Chrystall’s Bend stopbank and river realignment works worked well.

The Hutt River recorded a 20-year return period flood. This was similar to the October 1998 floods although there was more significant flooding in the upper valley than then. This may have been caused by a possibly greater than 100-year flood in the Akatarawa River, north of Upper Hutt.

There was some flooding of houses at Hathaway Ave, Lower Hutt, and several road closures. Water levels are receding and staff are currently out investigating the damage. A lot of debris has been deposited along the Hutt River, Mr Purves says.

ENDS

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