Progress continues with NZ flood recovery

Feb 21, 2024

Following the devastating flooding from Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023, Watercare is acknowledging the ongoing recovery efforts one year on.

Flooding from the cyclone saw Tāmaki Makaurau’s water and wastewater infrastructure suffering extensive damage. “The intensity and volume of the rain in both summer storm events caused a huge number of landslips – some which took out watermains, wastewater pipes and caused issues in our dam catchments,” Watercare asset upgrades and renewals general manager Suzanne Lucas said.

“Some issues weren’t immediately apparent, with new damage reports coming in for months afterward, totalling more than 200 individual issues. “A year on, we’re still deeply involved in our recovery programme.”

Lucas noted that 60 of the infrastructure issues have been resolved, with 16 repairs currently ready for execution however, a lot of work remains in the planning phase and is expected to extend through to 2025. As 2023 was Auckland’s wettest year on record, Lucas said this continued to impact recovery efforts. “Access to damaged sites often proved challenging, and we’ve had to get innovative to transport materials and equipment to sites,” she said.

“In Beach Haven, we had to transport equipment for our wastewater pipe repairs by barge, and in our Upper Nihotupu Dam catchments, we used helicopters for some of the machinery.” With an estimated cost of $100 million, the flood recovery programme has had more than $20 million spent already with an expected expenditure of $80 million over the next two years. “We were already spending more than $1 billion this financial year – our biggest annual infrastructure investment to date – and of course the flood recovery work was unforeseen and unbudgeted,” Lucas said.

“This work couldn’t wait so we’ve reprioritised our infrastructure delivery programme to enable it.”

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