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Makara Dam to be re-built

Media Release
29 May 2013
Makara Dam to be re-built

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has agreed to repair and rebuild the largest of the Makara Valley flood detention dams, found with a sinkhole in a regular inspection last year.

Since the discovery of the sinkhole in the No.1 Dam in Kokatewai Road, off Kairakau Road there have been extensive investigations and discussions about the best course of action going forward.

A Hearing Panel heard submissions on a Statement of Proposal for reinstatement and funding of the flood protection for the Upper Makara Scheme and revisions to the rating for the scheme.

The Council has agreed with the Hearing Panel’s recommendation to rebuild the No 1 dam, replacing the culvert and undertaking a desilting programme.

The work is estimated to cost $1.2million. More than half will be funded through the Regional Disaster Reserve, with the rest funded through the scheme disaster reserve and depreciation reserve, as well as a loan on the scheme. This work will mean an increase in the rating contribution from scheme members.

Chairman of the Hearing Panel Christine Scott says the scheme will be improved with a dam of higher specifications and a longer lasting culvert.

Councillor Scott says the panel accepts the community view that more work is needed on recognising the comparative benefit of the scheme to the wider community and this along with any other rate overlays should form part of a review with the 2014 Annual Plan.

HBRC will now complete final design work for the dam, before gaining consents and tendering for the work.


Five Makara and Atua Valley flood detention dams were constructed in the early 1980s, following a series of severe flood events in the early 1970s. After those floods, local landowners asked the then Hawke’s Bay Catchment Board (now HBRC) to investigate the control of flooding and erosion in the catchment.

A flood detention dam is constructed across a valley to temporarily hold excess flood water in a specific ponding area. In normal weather conditions the dam is empty, with in-flowing water exiting through a pipe in the face of the dam. During storm events the capacity of the pipe is exceeded and water builds up or ‘ponds’ behind the dam.


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