Heavy rain in Bay of Plenty, Waikato

MICHAEL DALY
Last updated 17:30 12/06/2014
Upturned tree in Auckland, June 11, 2014
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DAMAGE: Cyclone-strength winds tore through parts of Auckland and the upper North Island yesterday.

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Tauranga's water supply has been cut by half and the highway over the Kaimai Range was blocked by a slip throughout the day as heavy rain continues to fall in parts of Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

Other parts of the country were today cleaning up as the winds and rain that lashed many areas in the past few days gave way to drier, calmer conditions.

But heavy rain caused problems for Tauranga water-processing plants, with residents and businesses asked to conserve water over the next few days.

"The rain has fallen more heavily in the water catchment than in the city, loading up the drinking-water supply streams with more dirt and silt than the processing plants have been able to cope with," the Tauranga City Council said.

Staff worked through last night to keep the water supply working, but the drinking-water supply was only about 50 per cent of normal.

The NZ Transport Agency said it expected State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range to be open soon after 6pm, after a slip on the Waikato side last night closed the road in both directions.

Drivers were also warned to be careful on SH24 from Matamata to the SH29 junction because of flooding.

At the top of the South Island, caution was urged along SH1 from Ward to Conway because of flooding and minor slips.

Several roads remained closed or affected by flooding in Bay of Plenty and Waikato, and the levels of swollen rivers were being monitored.

The Waikato Regional Council said the Waihou River near Te Aroha today reached its highest level for several years and was predicted to continue to rise.

 "Tributaries feeding the lower Waikato River are also particularly swollen, and regional council staff are out working with landowners on any actions they need to take to protect their properties," the regional council said.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council said tanker water was being made available to Matatoki residents as silt repeatedly blocked the filters treating the raw water supply to the area's reservoir.

The Matamata-Piako District Council said flooding had caused major problems at a pump station that took wastewater away from a small number of properties in Te Aroha.

Residents of those properties were advised not to use anything, such as toilets or showers, that sent water down the drains.

MetService said heavy rain was expected today about the Gisborne hills and ranges, with steady rain about the Hawke's Bay hills and ranges.

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