Mataura stop bank strengthening in full swing
Strengthening of the 600-metre section of Mataura stop bank, identified at risk of erosion pre-Christmas, is in full swing this week.
Last year, while a geophysical report found there was no obvious structural damage to the stop banks on the Mataura River as a result of the 2020 flood event, river engineers raised concerns about a 600m section along the Mataura township that was at risk of erosion.
Today, councillors and staff from Environment Southland and the Gore District Council, as well as members of the Mataura Community Board and Hokonui Rūnanga, all visited the site and were updated about the strengthening work being undertaken.
Environment Southland integrated catchment management general manager Paul Hulse said as planned last year, work to strengthen this area of riverbank is in progress, which involves 27,000 tonnes of rock being used to protect the stop bank.
“Today, we discussed the key focus of these works, which is completing the necessary strengthening on the river banks to protect the stop banks.
“It is expected the work will be completed by April weather permitting.
“The community will most likely notice an increase in truck movements in the town as rock is transported to the site for armouring of the banks.”
Work will take place between 7am to 6pm. Environment Southland’s catchment operations team has directly contacted those in the immediate area of the works.
“Our message to the Mataura community at this time remains the same as it has been since we first identified a potential issue, last year: ‘Be prepared to evacuate your homes at lower river flows than you might have in the past, and at short notice,’” Paul Hulse said.
Emergency Management Southland would make any decisions about when and if to evacuate and will lead any evacuation. Each situation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, as it is not possible to predict conditions for every situation.
River levels are monitored 24/7 by the Environment Southland hydrology team who notify Emergency Management Southland of rising river levels/flows.
All Mataura residents on both sides of the river should be prepared to evacuate. Residents are advised to have a plan, gather supplies and to get connected online (go to cdsouthland.nz). Being prepared will help to make any evacuation easier and less stressful.