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Extra pumps being used to drain Rangitaiki Plains

MEDIA RELEASE


Extra pumps being used to drain Rangitaiki Plains
For immediate release: Friday 20 May, 2005

Drainage schemes on the Rangitaiki Plains are working well despite being overwhelmed by surface water flooding after the recent extreme rainfall.

Environment Bay of Plenty’s group manager operational services Clive Tozer says at Awakaponga 95mm of rainfall was recorded in just one hour, overwhelming drainage systems of much of the western part of the plains.

Besides its normal drainage pumps, Environment Bay of Plenty has 20 extra mobile diesel driven pumps ready to assist. Staff are currently working with local farming leaders Peter McLeod, Brian Power and Robin Barkla to decide the best locations for these. The pumps should all be operational by the end of the day, some by lunchtime. Water harvesters will also be used to remove water from affected farmland.

Mr Tozer asks farmers to be patient and reasonable while the draining occurs.

The Civil Defence State of Emergency was declared for Matata, but Mr Tozer said this was not extended to all of the Rangitaiki Plains. Pumping on areas west of the Tarawera River however, could become the subject of a claim to government. Because of this the regional council is not expecting to receive external funding for the extra pumping. Priorities will be set based on the impacts of individual farms, depth of water and the availability of alternative pasture. Staff will be placing and running pumps based on the advice received from the farming community.

Initially Environment Bay of Plenty will pick up pumping costs, but Mr Tozer said some of the costs will eventually have to be recovered from Rangitaiki drainage district or river schemes.

Environment Bay of Plenty’s main focus however is to pump off flood water as quickly as possible.

ENDS

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