Web Banner Tairawhiti

Korero from Councillor Shannon Dowsing

31 Jul 2018

Korero from Councillor Shannon Dowsing

Shannon Dowsing

One of Council’s major projects in our Long Term Plan is DrainWise, which is about working with property owners in the city to help fix problems with wastewater and stormwater drains.

I experienced firsthand how crucial this project is after my section flooded during the heavy rain events last month.

As the water level at home continued to rise, I was grateful to have new stormwater and wastewater connections that kept the council network safe. However, it was only weeks later while helping clear a neighbour’s paddock, we found an unknown wastewater manhole that had the potential to be overtopped by floodwater. This manhole is large enough to potentially inundate the network.

When stormwater enters the wastewater network it can cause emergency overflows into our rivers. The success of this project is dependent on community awareness and support.

When the problem can be this close to home but still go unseen, I worry that our community are not aware of their responsibilities in relation to it, and that Council is willing to help them identify any problems.

The 3 most common issues are incorrectly connected down pipes, damaged or cracked gully traps that allow pooling rainwater to seep into them or gully traps that are too low, allowing floodwater to over top them, much the same as the manhole next door to my property.

It can take as few as 2 homes in a storm event to completely flood the wastewater network with rainwater. Council needs community assistance. So I appeal to our community to take responsibility for the home you live in and ensure it's up to standard. If you don’t know where to start, seek guidance from Council or have a plumber do an inspection.

As a community, we don't always speak with the same voice but when it comes to this issue no one is divided. Together we can fix this problem by taking ownership and responsibility for our own backyard.

You can find additional information on DrainWise

Last updated: