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Source: New Zealand Government

The Government has today confirmed $2.5 million to fund a replace and upgrade a stopbank to protect the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant.

“As a result of Cyclone Gabrielle, the original stopbank protecting the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant was destroyed. The plant was operational within 6 weeks of the cyclone, but subsequent minor rain events since February have resulted in the plant being flooded,” Kieran McAnulty said.

“It’s been my role as the Hawke’s Bay Regional lead recovery Minister to listen to what the community needs and to advocate strongly for it. I know this is a top priority project for the region and will protect the supply of safe drinking water for approximately 3,200 people.

“This funding will allow urgent remediation and give locals confidence in a continuous supply of safe drinking water to the townships of Waipawa and Otane”.

The project will be constructed in two phases, the first phase being the immediate reinstatement work, with the design, consenting and construction of the higher level of protection running parallel. 

Council estimates the immediate reinstatement work will be completed prior to December 2023, with the construction of the higher level of protection stop bank is planned to be complete by June 2024.

The rebuild of this stopbank is proposed to be constructed to a 1 in 100-year design, which will provide a higher level of protection than the original stopbank, which was originally designed for only a 1 in 50-year event.

“The protection of this Water Treatment Plant is also part of a broader resilience project that will connect to the nearby township of Waipukurau which is over 4700 people. We want communities to feel confident that their drinking water supply is being protected the best it can be without being faced with huge rate increases.

“I previously met with staff at Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant who told me of the tremendous hours they worked after the Cyclone to get safe drinking water back for their communities.

The funding comes from money set aside in Budget 2023 for flood protection and mitigation measures that could be undertaken in a short time frame.

“I’m stoked we are able to provide this funding which provides resilience to the plant, while a longer-term alternative to move parts of the water treatment plant to higher ground can be achieved, at an estimated cost in excess of $6 million.

“This is a great example of central and local government working together for the good of the regions”, said Kieran McAnulty.