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Lack of water flow closes river mouths

2 April 2008

River Mouths Affected by Weather

Lack of water flow closes river mouths

A lack of rainfall through river catchments as well as a prevailing on-shore swell and tide action is affecting river mouths around the region.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has mechanically opened river mouths regularly in the last month, however the benefit of this work has generally been short lived.

The Ngaruroro-Clive-Tutaekuri (at Waitangi-Awatoto), the Tukituki, the Te Ngarue, and the Esk river mouths are the most affected. These rivers open onto gravel beaches which are easily moved by the sea and form barriers across the river mouths.

The Regional Council is monitoring the situation daily and will continue to open the mouths as necessary or as conditions allow, however temporary.

“The best way for us to open the river mouths is to wait until there is a good flow or ‘fresh’ coming down the river. We use the power of the water to work with the mechanical digger to assist in making the opening and provide sufficient water to maintain the mouth once open,” said Vince Byrne, Council’s rivers engineering officer.

“However with the lack of rain around the region reducing river flows, we lack that natural assistance.”

Mr Byrne says the Council receives a large number of calls advising mouth closures and concerns about flood risks. He says the public can be assured the rivers are constantly monitored and that berm areas alongside the lower ends of rivers are designed to have water on them.

“The rivers will always develop their own mouths once sufficient water is in the river and our job is to ensure this happens in an ideal location.”


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