waves and strong winds wash away 10 m (33 feet) high seawall, New
the Watchers, 25 July,2016 A severe weather outbreak wreaked havoc in New Zealand over the weekend
of July 23, 2016, as huge waves and strong winds battered the region
of Wellington. A Porirua seawall has been washed away, while the
Kapiti Coast beach was entirely immersed in the waves.
combination of stormy weather conditions and high tides caused the
incidents, according to media reports.
Local roads and highways have been closed throughout the weekend
after being rendered unsafe for driving, due to rising sea level.
of the Porirua coast suffered the hardest blow, as a 10 m (32.8 feet)
high seawall in Plimmerton was washed away. The waters have reached
the doors of the Plimmerton Fire Station, near the beach. Other
affected parts include Steyne Avenue, also battered by intense waves.
Strong winds reportedly toppled trees and sent trampolines flying
across the affected areas. Thirteen
concrete blocks weighing 1.5 tons and sandbags were placed between
the sea and the Fire station on July 24. The seawall has already
sustained damage during the 2013 winter storm, but this time, the
damage was much greater, and it may take up to six months to repair
the damage. About
4 m (13 feet) of land from the grounds of the local family beach
house in Paraparaumu were swept away between July 23 and 24, on the
Kapiti Coast. According to David Meikle, the central communications
shift manager, the Fire Service received numerous calls regarding
severe weather conditions in Wellington. Maximum
wind gust speed of 107 km/h (66.5 mph) was recorded in Wellington on
July 23. Almost 9 mm (0.35 inches) of rainfall was reported in
Porirua and 13 mm (0.5 inches) in Kelburn, Wellington while another 5
mm (0.19 inches) of precipitation and wind gusts up to 100 km/h (62
mph) were expected on the afternoon of July 24 (local time) in
July 24, a storm warning was in effect for the Cook Strait, as
MetService anticipated northerly swells up to 3 m (9.8 feet) and
southerly swells of 1 m (3.3 feet) in height. Severe north westerlies
were expected in Wellington, Wairarapa, the Marlborough Sounds and
the Chatham Islands. Large swells and waves were anticipated along
the western coast.
This is about a mile from where we keep our horses.
beach on Wellington's west coast was hit by the weekend's wild
large waves that washed away a Porirua seawall and swallowed up a
Kapiti Coast beach also roughed up the Makara beach car park and
walkway along the coastline also suffered some erosion. Makara
beach on Wellington's west coast was hit by harsh weather in the
Makara owner Lorraine Clift said the king tide and raging winds left
the car park in a mess and the public toilets unusable. "It
has never happened like that before, with the king tide and the heavy
storm," she said. The
weather also managed to cause a small amount of flooding inside the
cafe, Clift said. Despite
the weather, it was business as usual today. People had been driving
out to the beach to inspect the damage. "It
has been quit busy this morning. The walkway there has had a fair bit
of erosion on the pathway." Richard
MacLean from Wellington City Council said council staff had been out
to Makara to inspect the damage. "There
were some problems with the septic tanks out there which we had to
double check. We had to make sure there is no contamination." The
MetService said wind gusts peaked at 107kmh in Wellington on Saturday
along the Kapiti Coast, beach access is limited at Paekakariki and
Paraparaumu due to a build-up of debris washed out steps and eroded
bits of seawall.
footbridge in Raumati near the beach across the Wharemaku Stream also
remains temporarily closed off. Kapiti
Coast District Council group manager of infrastructure services Sean
Mallon said the council responded to about a dozen calls from
residents relating to the weather in a 24-hour period from midnight
for service came for things such as surface flooding, blocked sumps,
broken trees branches and debris on roads and beaches. There
have been several calls about trees, including some on private
properties, and a few calls relating to flooding of garages in Te
Horo, due to the high tidal surges, and a sleepout in Otaihanga. A
part of Rodney Ave, at Te Horo Beach, has been closed. "We're
working hard to get to call-outs and on to the clean-up efforts as
soon as we can, but more in-depth assessments of the damage and
erosion to the seawalls and coastal areas will take a little longer
and will be on-going this week."
Drought is real, but dams in Hawke's Bay and Canterbury not the
answer, says Greenpeace
no question about it - drought is causing serious problems for our
farmers and communities.
what do we do about it? Dams and irrigation are often touted as the
best way to deal with increasing dry spells, especially in regions
with low rainfall. But what’s actually happening is water captured
for irrigation in New Zealand isn’t just being used to help tide
farms over during droughts. It’s being used to intensify farming.
what happens if droughts keep getting worse, and the irrigated water
that allowed farms to intensify is no longer there? We only need look
to Opuha dam in Canterbury to see how this critical problem plays
Opuha dam was built in 1998 with the promise of helping farmers
through the tough droughts that had been hitting Canterbury. In the
summer of 2015, it dried up completely. All irrigation takes were
shut off and 250 farmers were left high and dry. The summer 2016
takes were then restricted by 50%. The dam’s made the situation
worse for many farmers, because they’ve intensified off the back of
it and are now reliant on that water.
typically pro-irrigation groups like Federated Farmers have raised
these concerns. Fed Farmers South Canterbury president Ivon Hurst is
quoted as saying: "Ironically, it's those with irrigation that
are likely to be the worst off because of course they're stocked up
to the limit and have high standing costs so when they do get caught
without water, they are in real trouble."
schemes create more intensive industrial dairy farms which causes
huge amounts of pollution in our rivers, two-thirds of which are
already too polluted to swim in. These schemes also suck up water
from our our rivers and aquifers, water that needs to stay in those
rivers to maintain their ecological health.
as we are now sadly witnessing many of our dairy farmers under
increasing financial stress, economists have begun questioning the
intensification model that’s enabled by irrigation: Over the past
15 years, dairy intensification has led to $38 billion worth of debt,
and in the 2014/15 season the Reserve Bank estimated that 50% of
dairy farmers weren’t breaking even.
Opuha model shows us that dams aren’t the answer to drought.
Economists tell us the industrial dairying model is causing our
farmers to go broke. Scientists tell us that irrigation means more
agricultural intensification which causes more freshwater pollution.
right now, there are several think-big irrigation schemes planned
around the country, including Ruataniwha dam in Hawke’s
Bay and Central Plains Water in Canterbury.
a better way to deal with drought. Instead of creating water-hungry
industrial dairy farms in low rainfall regions, we can use methods
and systems of farming that create resilient, drought resistant
farms, and don’t rely on taking huge amounts of water from our
fragile river ecosystems.
ecological methods can reduce farmer debt and dependency, and
increase relative productivity and income. Better yet they avoid
river pollution, meaning clean waterways we can all swim and fish in.
can find out more about drought-resistant farming here.