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Published: 2004-03-30 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has begun emergency works to repair damage done to the Tongariro River in last month's flood.

The Tongariro River Management Forum met last week with about 30 residents to discuss the effects of the flood and actions taken to repair the damage. The Forum includes Environment Waikato, Department of Conservation, Genesis Power, Mighty River Power, Taupo District Council and Ngati Turangitukua.

The flood was the largest event since 1958 and existing protection works performed largely as expected. The stopbank at Tahawai Street was overtopped and repair works were planned. There was severe bank erosion at the end of Herekiekie Street and some local flooding near Awamate Road.

Most of the damage occurred in areas that were yet to be provided with protection under Project Watershed. Environment Waikato project manager Bruce Peploe said significant quantities of gravel had moved into the lower reaches of the river. Genesis Power said that monitoring indicated beds of rivers and streams in the upper reaches had been scoured out and material had moved downstream.

Emergency works being done under the Resource Management Act include new rockwork to protect the river banks from further erosion, and clearing of logs and debris from the bed of the river. The Council was assessing the effect of gravel movement and what needed to be taken into account in the design of the overall scheme.

Mr Peploe said the first stage of consents had now been granted relating to willow and debris clearance and bank protection works. The second stage of consents, which were publicly advertised last week, included new stop banking and gravel management.

Meeting chairman Don Ormsby said the local community could help with protection works by supporting the consent process and providing feedback to Environment Waikato as early as possible.