$650,000 flood deflection bank for Kawakawa

16 May 2024, 11:02 AM

A $650,000 project to construct a deflection bank to protect low-lying businesses along Old Whangae Road and Kawakawa’s main street from flooding is underway in the township.

Taumarere Flood Working Group Chair Geoff Crawford says the project was approved by the group and had originally been scheduled to be completed next summer but had been brought forward at the community’s request.

Chair Crawford, who also chairs the Northland Regional Council, says the project aims to give one-in-50-year flood protection from the Waiomio River. It is being jointly funded by the Government through the Cyclone Recovery fund ($350,000) and the Northland Regional Council ($300,000).

“Ten, 50 and 100-year flood modelling has been completed to assess potential risks and determine effective mitigation and 50-year protection has been deemed the most feasible and practical.”

The project involves construction of one metre high, 200-metre long deflection bank, which is designed to ‘deflect’ flood water onto the opposite and expansive floodplain. The floodplain is 900m wide with the protected area around 100m wide and the relatively small area protected means the development has negligible adverse effects on surrounding farmland and other public infrastructure.

“The deflection bank joins the existing decorative bund in the Hundertwasser library park and follows the bank of the Waiomio River downstream towards the town’s three road bridges.”

He says regional council consent and landowner approvals were gained over summer and the work – which began at the end of March – is being carried out by local contractors Ngawati Digger Works.

“The Old Whangae Road bridge is located half-way down the bank and had to be raised 700mm to tie in with the deflection bank crest...this work was completed in late March by Barfoote Construction.” “The removal of weeds and willows down the length of the river has also been completed with the assistance of local project group Te Papa Pa Orooro”.

Two floodgated culverts will also be installed in the bank to drain stormwater from Kawakawa township.

The project team has also been working closely with landowners, hapu, the Hundertwasser Trust and Pou Herenga Tai – Twin Coast Cycle Trail trust on this project as the cycle trail crossed through the raised area.

Chair Crawford says the project is expected to be completed by the end of the month and will include grassing and replanting of trees to restore and enhance the natural habitat.

Woman wearing hi-vis vest on bridge with earthworks in the background.

Northland Regional Council Rivers Project Manager Meg Tyler at the site of the project to protect low-lying businesses along Old Whangae Road and Kawakawa’s main street from flooding. Central to the work is a new 200-metre long flood deflection bank, pictured, being built in the area.