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$9m Shovel-ready Bid For Flood Protection Works Includes Environmental Improvements

Waikato Regional Council’s proposed shovel-ready programme of works for flood protection will connect significant wetlands and enable safe fish passage.

The regional council has asked the Government for $9 million towards plans to complete its build of Muggeridge’s pump station in the Hauraki Plains, put in fish friendly pumps across five catchments (in the lower Waikato and Hauraki Plains) and create an ecological corridor along the lower Piako River from the Firth of Thames to the Kopuatai Peat Dome.

The full programme of works totals just over $18 million.

River and Catchment Management Committee chair Stu Husband says the Muggeridge’s pump station project is a good fit for the Government’s call for shovel-ready projects as it had been put on hold at the end of last year due to an increase in costs.

The overall project was budgeted at $6m but a sole tender received for the construction of the pump station, which was declined, had helped push the cost up to $9m.

“We’re good to go with finishing this job. The canal has been built, stopbanks are in, we have all the consents we need but we have a potential shortfall of $3 million,” says Cr Husband.

“We’re really keen to progress this project because it’s part of the council’s overall vision for more sustainable flood infrastructure practices moving forward; it’s our model, I guess you could say.”

The shovel-ready programme of works includes $2 million of restoration work and $7 million in pump upgrades to allow eels safe passage to the sea for migration. The new Muggeridge’s pump station also allows for safe fish passage, which is in line with a fish passage strategy for flood protection infrastructure the council is currently developing.

“We’re working with iwi and other agencies on environmental improvements to help restore biodiversity. So that also means planting an ecological corridor along the length of the Muggeridge’s canal and continuing that along the Piako River.

“There’ll be significant fencing and planting which will also help provide shade to the drainage systems near the sea. We hope this shade will help reduce the number of outbreaks in botulism that have been happening along the Firth of Thames at the height of summer in the past few years.”

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