Edgecumbe flooding 500-year event

Aerial view of Edgecumbe today. Flood waters are continuing to rise, with high tide expected later this afternoon. Photos: Malcolm Growden/Facebook.

Rising floodwaters in the Eastern Bay has emergency services rushed off their feet as the area prepares for high tide later this afternoon.

The township of Edgecumbe was evacuated this morning as the Edgecumbe River breached its bank at the concrete wall on College Road.

Flood waters have continued to rise in the area and town has been closed off.

“Edgecumbe evacuees headed to Kawerau are advised that Firmin Lodge is the area’s welfare centre,” says the latest update from the Whakatane District Council.

Anyone who has not yet evacuated and requires assistance should call 111 for help.

“We have been receiving multiple calls from residents concerned the bridge into Whakatane is closed or is about to be closed. This is incorrect. There are no plans to close the bridge at this time.

“We have also received calls from people asking if Whakatane is being evacuated. It is not. There are no plans to evacuate Whakatane town.”

Residents should conserve water and avoid flushing toilets in Taneatua.

Sewerage has been restored in Whakatane, but residents are still asked to use toilets etc as sparingly as possible.

“Rubbish collection in many areas of the District has been impacted by the weather/flooding. Further info on this is available on our website.

“The public are being asked not to contact the Whakatane Hospital if they require prescription medications.”

Some evacuees have left their meds at home and are seeking prescription at the A&E, which is causing congestion; instead they should call Healthline 0800 611 116 or see a GP to have these meds issued.

The latest from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Eastern Bay rivers reached warning levels overnight and Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s flood management is making every effort to protect communities.

The Matahina Dam was lowered to 71.5m (5.3m below the design flood level) in anticipation of this event. The dam is spilling a total of 780 cubic metres per second to reduce an expected peak inflow of 950 cubic metres into the dam. This peak inflow is expected to be about midday today.

Flood manager Peter Blackwood says this is a significant event that is beyond the Matahina scheme’s design capacity for a 100-year flood event.

The Whakatane and Rangitaiki River levels are still very high. The Whakatane River peaked at 8.33m at 6am today and had dropped to 8.03m by 10.25am.

High tide at 2.52pm this afternoon but is not expected to have an impact on either river, Peter says.

While the rain has stopped, the risk of stop bank breaches is still moderate and Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s flood management team is working to divert water away from Edgecumbe to reduce this risk. The Reids Central floodway spillway is in operation and rivers and drainage staff are closely monitoring the situation.

Evacuations of Edgecumbe are continuing.

These photos show flooding around other parts of the Whakatane District. Supplied photos.

Meanwhile, Fonterra are shutting down their Edgecumbe factory, but have not fully evacuated yet.

“As a result of flooding in the Edgecumbe area, Fonterra has temporarily shut down its Edgecumbe site," Bay of Plenty Co-operate Affairs head Lisa Payne.

“Local staff are currently preparing low-lying parts of the site for potential flooding. Staff who are not involved in these preparations are being sent home. “Approximately half of the team have already left the site.

“Our local Farm Source store in the township remains closed due to flooding.

“The welfare of our staff, farmers and their animals is our number one priority. At this stage, the stopbank on the river where our site is located has held, but there is a possibility that we may evacuate the site later in the day if the river level continues to rise.

“Road closures are causing delays with some milk collections in the immediate area. Our Farm Source team is contacting impacted farmers directly."


That frightening exponential curve

Posted on 12-04-2017 09:45 | By Papamoaner

Unfortunately, scientists are generally in agreement now that it’s too late because it’s going to get harder faster. We are still on the horizontal part of the curve, but right at the bend now. As we enter the vertical part, things will accelerate so fast it will stun us all. Some researchers, especially at Victoria physics dept where the coal face work is done, are of the view that it’s already too late. Sobering stuff. Feel sorry for those ignorant sceptics who think it’s all bullshit. They won’t know what hit them. The great barrier coral bleaching is a fairly new serious warning.

My guess Papamoaner,

Posted on 12-04-2017 08:56 | By R. Bell

is that future management of this river will be far more effective. Already we see the dam being lowered to accommodate Cooke. Your right about global warming and climate change, but sadly peoples self interests will slow down any effective measures, probably until it’s too late to reverse it all. we live in hope, and hope no further damage is done to Edgecumbe and its people. Cheers. Robin Bell.

Stopbank repair

Posted on 11-04-2017 18:55 | By Papamoaner

They are saying on National Radio that the hydrologists and engineers have now repaired the breach and they believe it is stronger than the original. That’s very reassuring, but they add that other parts of the levy all along it, are fragile. Hopefully they will find funds to upgrade the whole flood protection system before the next round of events.


Posted on 11-04-2017 15:10 | By Papamoaner

I live near a river stopbank too, and sometimes worry about breach. Rivers were only ever meant to meander, which is why valleys have flat floors. Unfortunately, stopbanks modify velocity (ie; speed and direction) which is a bit scary because as happened to those unfortunate folk in BOP, once an over-the-top trickle starts, everything accelerates, and the rest we know. Building higher stronger Levys is the way to go alright, but oh the expense! We MUST minimise human influence on global warming, or pay the price. The ultimate punishment could be capital.


Posted on 11-04-2017 12:55 | By Papamoaner

That’s a refreshingly objective view , and doubtless correct. Sadly, it’s going to worsen as we continue to release more CO2 than can be absorbed. Ironically, after forests, the next biggest absorber of CO2 is concrete, especially broken rubble, so maybe nature will take care of that on our behalf after we have all been kicked off the planet. This was a 500 year event, but there will likely be others coming soon . Let’s hope cyclone Cooke does not hit them too hard (again) this week. It’s good to be back on topic with someone who can think beneath the surface. I must admit I got a bit carried away focussing on winding Maildrop up just for the hell of it, but there was a lack of stimulation on the post. These storms of increasing frequency are a very serious matter - natures warning.


Posted on 11-04-2017 11:18 | By maildrop

Your rant does not make any sense. Where did I say all scientists are stupid and inaccurate? On the contrary, most are clever. Nonetheless, they are there to be questioned by scientists and non scientists alike. If you were one, you would know this. But you are not. I don’t have an inferiority complex. I have a superiority one. I am aware of the lead issue in NZ and your rant would seem to be evidence of it’s effects. Take a deep breath.

Inadequate Stop Banks,

Posted on 11-04-2017 10:40 | By R. Bell

are the real issue here. After less than a century of rainfall data it’s impossible for anyone ( even maildrop) to accurately predict how much, or when. No one is to "blame" it is all part of the learning process. Some people have a need to blame others, especially those who easily forget the unpredictable nature of the weather. When its all over and they rebuild the stop banks, hopefully maildrop will eat a bit of humble pie and get over his demand for perfection in all things. Robin Bell.


Posted on 11-04-2017 09:23 | By Papamoaner

I have a suggestion. Why don’t you use your high qualifications to go down to Antarctica and sort out all those "thick" Kiwi scientists who are working down there, not on mere 500 year events, but 10 million year events? Try not to offend them by being uppity. They might tide crack you mate.Can’t have that. We would lose our entertainment.


Posted on 11-04-2017 07:41 | By Papamoaner

Metrication was derived by scientists that to you are all stupid and innaccurate, yet in the next breath you say "mm are accurate"Then, in your latest post you attempt to imply that you are some sort of technologist that was invited to come here and sort out the "thickness" of us Kiwis due to lead poisoning. You might be interested to know that Pb as an element is not toxic. Only its compounds are, so any poisoning is probably from leaded fuel or by-product inhalation such as exhaust fumes.. That is an issue that was big in other countries in earlier times, especially the US before they went unleaded. NZ only to a relatively minor extent. Someone as important as you should not be suffering this inferiority complex. Poor chap


Posted on 11-04-2017 03:55 | By maildrop

I know a meaningless term when I see it. I have both the education and qualifications to back it up. It’s why the government of NZ asked me to come here, to fill a skills shortage because too many people of your generation had sniffed too much lead and it made them a bit thick. Some people are confident enough and know enough to question things. Some people just accept everything. Accept away.

@ Maildrip

Posted on 10-04-2017 08:38 | By Papamoaner

Aha, you are skirting around the core subject now. We call it tail spinning. Your opinions about scientists and I suspect, technologists in general, are indeed those of a miniscule minority. Probably best stay out of it if you don’t have the education or qualifications to follow the subject. You’re out of your depth mate.


Posted on 10-04-2017 06:03 | By maildrop

A few big words doesn’t validate your nonsense, nor the irrelevant and misleading nonsense used by "scientists". We have measures like mm of rain. It’s accurate and can be compared to previous totals. We have eyes and media so can see the "magnitude" of what occurred. When these "scientists" can predict where these events will occur they can come up with a term I accept. If their term makes you happy that’s fine.

Penguin explained it quite well

Posted on 08-04-2017 09:14 | By Papamoaner

Maildrop and meinf have both confused range with scale. An extrapolated 500 year interval for prediction of magnitude doesn’t mean there will not be other events in between time. Nobody said that, but they both jumped to the conclusion anyway. A bit of basic reading on the scientific method might help them, but we won’t hold our breath on that one. You can’t argue with a brick wall.

Clarification of definition

Posted on 07-04-2017 10:52 | By penguin

A 500-year flood has a one in 500 (0.2%) chance of occurring.Likely the 500 year flood would be more catastrophic than the 100 year flood, which would be more catastrophic than the 20 year flood, etc. Therefore, the 1-500 also refers to the significance, size or effect of the flood (or any other) event.

one can only hope

Posted on 07-04-2017 09:37 | By Mein Fuhrer

that the existence of a Papamoaner is a 500 year event

World class!

Posted on 07-04-2017 06:21 | By maildrop

That’s so funny. I wish I had a dollar for every time NZ reels that one out. And I’m afraid you’re wrong about them being proved right. In recent years a number of places have been affected by 100 year events more than once, and there are still about another 90 odd years to go for many since it became popular to say that rubbish. You can put your faith in their " world class" nonsense if you like. I prefer to use my own brain.

@ Mai9ldrop and mein F

Posted on 06-04-2017 15:38 | By Papamoaner

The answer to your questions is that those predictions are made by our scientists and hydrologists, who are of a world class standard, and usually proved right.

500 year event?

Posted on 06-04-2017 12:33 | By Mein Fuhrer

who comes up with this rubbish?


Posted on 06-04-2017 12:23 | By maildrop

100 year event, 500 year event.....either is a load of tosh. I’ll bet my mortgage it occurs again before those two terms.

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