Statement from the Central Hawke's Bay District Council
What we know
Our rural roading network has been severely damaged by heavy rainfall, strong winds and earthquake tremors over the last three months.
Over the past two days the district has experienced yet more heavy rain and flooding, and the ground is now beyond saturation point.
Some coastal areas received nearly 100mm of rain last night on the back of the wettest winter in recent memory. Damage to roads has worsened over the last 24 hours and is expected to deteriorate further in the coming days and weeks.
Many roads are closed due to flooding and slips, and the road closures are increasing by the hour.
While the heavy (orange) rain warning has been lifted, further rain is forecast for the weekend and even small amounts of rain on top of what we’ve already had will cause damage and could lead to yet more road closures.
Before this week’s events, the district already had 35 major slips requiring significant repair at a cost estimated between $25 - $40 million.
We are expecting further slips and potentially more road closures over the long weekend and into the coming weeks.
With river levels high, if the river water quality continues to degrade, we may need to issue a boil water notice for Waipukurau.
Our wastewater ponds in Waipukurau and Waipawa are operating under emergency discharge conditions as the heavy rain has impacted our wastewater plants. As the river levels are so high, the discharge is having a negligible impact on water quality - but this is clearly not the situation we want.
What we don’t know
Due to the wet ground conditions, slips can occur anywhere across the network, anytime.
With such a huge number of slips across the entire district and the ground saturated, we can’t yet confirm when we will be able to commence work on repairs for the major slips. We need the ground to dry out so we can start significant repairs.
What we need you to know
The situation is constantly changing. Head to our website for the latest road closures. Some alternative routes require significant travel detours.
Please drive to the conditions and be prepared for those conditions to change.
If you are isolated and need support – please contact us 24/7 on 06 857 8060.
If you find a new slip, contact Council urgently on 24/7 on 06 857 8060 so we can assess the damage.
Your safety is our highest priority. Please do not attempt to cross major slips due to the risk of further collapse.
We desperately want to make repairs to the many large slips across the district. This simply hasn’t been possible due to the wet ground conditions.
Take care out there, Central Hawke’s Bay!