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Community Response Group_Storm Warning

It seems that almost daily we are advised through the news media of weather-related disasters occurring with what seems increasing frequency. They have included drought-linked bush fires, hurricanes, tornados, and floods – often recorded as larger and more powerful than anything measured before.

The recent floods in Napier, Wellington, Taranaki and Westland, which resulted in enormous environmental pollution when an old rubbish tip was washed into the Fox River, remind us that Mother Nature doesn't discriminate where severe events are delivered.

Learnings from previous experiences play a large part in establishing response plans and understanding how events might develop. Napier received 242mm of rain in just 24 hours, and it should be acknowledged that as a one in 250 year event local planners may not have designed the storm water system to cope.

In Mahurangi, we are just as likely to receive a heavy rain event as most other places, which means planning for those high volumes needs to be front of mind at the early stages of our regional development.

As homeowners and occupiers, there are some basic things we can do to help reduce possible damage from flooding:

• Ensure that gutters and downpipes are sound and kept clear and free flowing.

• Ensure ground level drains are kept free of debris.

• Identify places where water might pool and try to ensure adequate drainage.

• Report blocked or obscured street drains to the council. Clear them yourself if possible.

• Chat with your neighbours about how you would manage in a major storm.

• Visit the Auckland Council website “Auckland's Hazard Viewer” to check out flood data and other risk issues.

As the recent floods here in New Zealand have demonstrated, when severe weather events occur, existing infrastructure and resources can soon be overwhelmed or rendered useless. For example, it's no use trying to use a car when the road has become a river, or trying to use pumps when there is no electrical power to drive them.


by Jim Flewitt, Warkworth
Community Response Group


There are numerous Community Response Groups throughout Rodney which liaise with emergency services to assist during civil emergencies. To join a local group, contact Anne Dickson, annedickson@xtra.co.nz