The Bay of Plenty region was inundated with rain and severe weather from ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie from 3 to 6 April 2017. Although the whole of the region was affected, the Eastern Bay of Plenty felt the most significant impact. The high rainfall resulted in all rivers in the region reaching warning levels with some rivers reaching potentially record levels. A breach of the Rangitāiki River stopbank at College Road in Edgecumbe occurred on the morning of 6 April 2017, which resulted in widespread flooding of properties and the evacuation of people from the town.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council manages river and drainage schemes across the region. The breached stopbank in Edgecumbe is part of the infrastructure assets that make up the Rangitāiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme. The Scheme provides stopbanks, channel edge stability works and some drainage and flood pumping services to the township of Edgecumbe and the Rangitāiki, Galatea and Waiohau Plains. The Matahina and Āniwaniwa hydro-electric power stations, and their associated hydro lakes, are located on the Rangitāiki River, upstream of Edgecumbe.

There has been a major impact on people and property from the breach of the stopbank at College Road, Edgecumbe. The entire Edgecumbe township was evacuated as many urban and rural properties became inundated – 15 properties were assessed as severely damaged and around 250 properties assessed as habitable with repairs.

The Council requested an independent review of the infrastructure and the circumstances that led to the breach of a flood wall and associated flooding through the town of Edgecumbe on 6 April 2017.

It is a technical review that is focused on the Regional Council’s responsibilities – the operation of the Rangitāiki River Scheme assets, including design, engineering, maintenance and management and the implementation of the flood management role that BOPRC delivered during the ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie event up until the breach, and in response to that breach.

Read the Terms of Reference for the independent Review here.

Read more about the Panel members here.

Initial expectations were for a Report from the Panel at the end of July, but given the volume and technical nature of the information required, the Panel required more time. Read more about the time extension. 

Council received the Report on 18 September 2017 and it was presented to Council on 3 October 2017. Council accepted the report and agreed to make it publicly available. 

LINKS
• Read the full Report on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website
• Media information including speech notes and Q&As are also available at https://www.boprc.govt.nz