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Edgecumbe stopbank failure review begins

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/05/2017

An independent review into why Edgecumbe flooded will look at the entire operation of the Rangitaiki River Scheme, the review panel's head announced on Monday.

The review, which is expected to take until late July, will be headed by former deputy prime minister Sir Michael Cullen and feature two technical experts - Kyle Christensen, a water resources engineer, and Charlie Price, a geotechnical engineer.

The review, set up by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, will look closely at the breach of the Rangitaiki River in April, which flooded much of the town of Edgecumbe.

"People understandably are looking for answers," Sir Michael says.

"Homes were flooded, property destroyed and people have lost personal possessions.

"We know that Tropical Cyclone Debbie was a significant weather event and that rivers were running at record levels.

"However, what we don't know yet is how this breach happened, and whether more could have been done to prevent it."

The review will also examine the council's flood management role before the flooding and its response, and take an overall look at the river's design, engineering, maintenance and management.

The community, local Maori and landowners will be consulted, Sir Michael said.

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