Taneatua cut off by floods

The Bay of Plenty township of Taneatua, 13km south of Whakatane, has been cut off by rising rivers tonight.

The Taneatua Highway was closed and State Highway 2 in the Pekatahi Bridge area is also closed. Waimana and Ruatoki Valley are cut off and these communities would remain isolated while river levels are high, said Civil Defence Controller David Bewley.

SH35 east of Opotiki was also closed as high seas overtopped the road at Hawai, Te Kaha and Waihau Bay.

People should avoid any unnecessary travel and if they do have to travel to drive with care, Mr Bewley said.

High tide had passed in Opotiki and it appeared that water has receded by 300mm at the Opotiki Wharf, which alongside the stopbank at Volkners Reserve were sandbagged as a precaution.

Opotiki's sewage problem was now resolved but parents were cautioned to keep children out of water.

Health authorities warned people should also avoid swimming and recreational activities in all rivers, streams and harbours for 48 hours as farm runoff may have contaminated waterways.

The Whakatane River is expected to peak at 10pm, which affect the ability of water to exit from canals and rivers, adding to the overtopping of canals onto low lying areas.

Power has been restored to all areas in the district apart from Matata where people are asked to conserve water to allow the reservoirs to refill.

Residents in Edgecumbe were also asked to conserve water by avoiding flushing toilers, showering or using dishwashers, as there are infiltration problems with the wastewater system.

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