Kawerau to spend nearly $1m on drinking water, flood protection

1:42 pm on 1 May 2020

Kawerau District Council has approved nearly $1 million in spending on its 'three waters' infrastructure.

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Kawerau Mayor Malcolm Campbell said he hoped new flood protection measures on Hardie Avenue, Beattie Road and Valley Road would give peace of mind to residents (file photo). Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

In a meeting on Tuesday, which was livestreamed to Facebook, the council approved $934,211 in spending to refurbish three bores to provide drinking water to the town, and to construct stormwater detention basins and culverts to prevent flooding.

Currently, Kawerau's water supply is provided by the Pumphouse and Holland springs. Neither can provide all the water required by the district through the year on its own, and for a significant period each year, both springs are required.

In 2018, the council's former operations and services manager, Tom McDowall, began investigating and refurbishing the three Tarawera bore holes as a reserve supply.

However, it was found that the pumps were in a worse condition than anticipated and McDowall's original work came in at $80,000, well above the $23,700 budget.

His successor, Hanno van der Merwe, said this year had been "particularly dry" for the district and the council had to impose water restrictions.

He said with the bores there would be more than enough water but the cost to fully refurbish all three bores including new electrical controls would be $220,000, over and above the $80,000 already spent.

Van der Merwe said as soon as key staff were back, he would be able to begin work.

Councillors voted unanimously to spend the additional money.

Ōpōtiki Pumps Ltd will be undertaking the work.

Councillors also voted unanimously to spend $153,000 to construct four stormwater detention basins on Hardie Avenue, Beattie Road and Valley Road.

The council had been looking at flooding mitigation following a storm in 2017 that damaged houses on Beattie Road, Hardie Avenue, and the junction of Fenton Mill and Valley Roads.

Councillor Sela Kingi said it had been a lengthy process for residents to get to this point, but the council wanted to be sure it "got it right".

Councillor Carolyn Ion said it had been an "uphill-downhill saga" and while the basins wouldn't completely remove the threat of flooding, they would go some way to mitigate it.

Mayor Malcolm Campbell said when dealing with nature nothing was 100 percent guaranteed, but the basins should give some peace of mind to residents, who would have had many sleepless nights during periods of rain.

Councillor Aaron Rangihika said it was time the council got in behind and got it done.

The council received tenders from four contractors: Hickey Contractors Limited, $846,520; Schick Civil Construction, $499,782; Crossroads Construction, $457,703; and Waiotahi Contractors, $302,904.

Waiotahi Contractors was awarded the contract. It was also awarded the contract for new culverts on River Road after submitting the lowest tender.

During heavy rain, debris washes down Maruka Stream, blocking two culverts on the road and causing localised flooding to nearby houses.

The culverts' design was evaluated and found to be susceptible to blockage, requiring redesign and rebuilding.

MAP Projects Limited submitted a tender of $751,413 to do the work, Schick Civil Construction tendered $599,112, Tracks Concrete 2002 Ltd tendered $797,187 and Waiotahi Contractors $561,211.

The mayor said he was pleased Waiotahi Contractors was awarded both contracts for the flood mitigation work as the company had the best price, was the "right team to do the job", and was local.

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