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Hauraki District Council have decided to reinstate drainage to a property that’s had more than seven years of water woes. FILE PHOTO: KELLEY TANTAU

Flood-prone home to get council fix

It was a reputational “risk” opting to spend ratepayer money to fix a flood-prone home, but Hauraki District Council have decided to reinstate drainage to a property that’s had more than seven years of water woes.
The home in question sits along Adams St in Waihī, and according to council, had been built in a naturally low-lying area, with the basement and garage sitting around 0.8m below the surrounding ground level.
This meant stormwater runoff from neighbouring properties drained into the basement, flooding it, and forcing the homeowner to purchase her own pumps which she used in times of heavy rain.

To fix the issue, council would have to spend more than $118,684 installing around 90 metres of new public stormwater infrastructure, but in the report presented to elected members, this could come with a risk to its reputation.
“We have to be a little careful if we go around fixing problems that people had when they built their house 40-50 years ago,” Plains ward councillor Neil Gray said. “I do get very nervous, and it is mentioned in the report, too, about the perception around council spending money to fix private issues, but there is a responsibility here, I think, to provide a drainage point.”
Historically, the stormwater drainage for the Adams St property was from a catchpit via a private pipeline that crossed the front lawn of a neighbouring home.
Council had no details of how and where this pipe connected to the public network.
In around 2015, after complaints from the property owner, council attempted to help minimise the effects of the flooding by installing a small pump in the catchpit which discharged to the kerb. However, while the pump “performed well”, it was unable to keep up with the volume of water that came into the property from runoff from neighbouring properties and ground water infiltration.
Paeroa ward councillor Carole Daley said staff had to be “careful” about its options, but that she sympathised with the homeowner.
“For this lady, it’s ongoing, and I can see she is doing everything in her power to try and cope with the situation. It’s not like somebody who has done nothing; she has obviously gone to great lengths to try and fix the problem as best she can.”
Before the vote went through for council to fund the new infrastructure – which will have no impact on council’s debt as the money will be derived from the Waihī stormwater upgrades budget – Mayor Toby Adams said staff had to get the rationale right.
“We are not, in the sense, going to start piping drains through everybody’s streams. This is solely to reestablish an existing outlet that was there prior… we’re not helping an existing property owner with some drainage network,” he said, “we are putting in something existing that should’ve been there – which we have done in the past.”