Reassurances given on pump station capacity

Reassurances were given at a public meeting in Mosgiel last night about the capacity of the upgraded Waipori pump station.

The Otago Regional Council meeting was held to update residents about flood protection, drainage schemes and flood hazards.

Council manager engineering operations Ramon Strong, before 30 people at the Coronation Hall, said two of the four pumps at the Waipori pump station were incomplete and inoperable when 195mm of rain fell in eight days in an ''exceedingly wet'' June last year.

One farmer said he could not understand pump stations being ''out of action'' in high-risk winter months. In the floods, he lost 32ha of kale to rot.

Mr Strong said the council had intended to have all pumps operational in June but ''our contractor was a little bit behind''.

Despite that, he said the farmer would have lost about the same amount of crop if all four pumps had been working, because the floodwater would have remained on his paddocks for the same amount of time - 10 to 12 days - rotting his crops.

The farmer said the council needed to be proactive and turn the pumps on before the forecast rain arrived so the water table could be lowered and provide ''leeway''. Mr Strong said the Waipori pump station upgrade had made ''giant strides'' in pumping capacity and could handle a large downpour where the old pump had failed.

The Waipori pump station upgrade between 2008 and 2013 had an estimated cost of $1.74 million and an actual cost of more than $1.945 million.

Mr Strong said submissions on the council's 2014-15 draft annual plan, which included spending on maintaining and developing flood and drainage schemes, were open until Friday, May 2. More ''drop in'' sessions with council staff were being held at the Mosgiel Library today from 10am to 2pm and 3pm to 5.30pm.

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