Diggers will be a common sight in the Waiarohia Stream over the next several months as a major river maintenance project to reduce urban Whangarei flooding continues.
From mid-January, the latest work will see about 8000-10,000 cubic metres of gravel extracted from the stream’s lower reaches, says Northland Regional Council’s Rivers Programme Manager Joe Camuso.
"This work is part of our ongoing aim to reduce the impact of flooding on our communities by clearing out problem areas along a number of Northland rivers and improving water flow in them.”
Mr Camuso says diggers will be used both in the Waiarohia itself and to stablise its banks, both of which may cause stream water to look a bit discoloured and churned up for a while.
“However, previous work over the past couple of years has shown any muddiness in the water basically only lasts while the machinery is working. We’ll also have a number of protective measures – including silt curtains - in place to reduce the discolouration as much as possible.”
The latest river maintenance work – worth $176,000 - is part of an ongoing Whangarei flood works programme being led by the regional council, in partnership with the Whangarei District Council and the Whangarei Urban Rivers Liaison Committee. The work is funded by a targeted rate on the Whangarei catchment.
Mr Camuso says maintenance on the Waiarohia Stream will begin between Port and Woods Rds in about a month’s time and, depending on the weather, is expected to end near Whangarei Boys High School about two to three months after it starts.
“Once again, a key element to the work will be focusing on improving the flow around bridges – they tend to be ‘pinch points’ where debris like logs and fallen trees gets stuck and worsens flooding,” Mr Camuso says.
He says gravel removed as part of the works will be used by the contractor as clean fill in the Whangarei area.
Meanwhile, he says anyone with concerns about the stream maintenance work should contact the regional council’s rivers team on 0800 002 004.