Hawke's Bay Regional Council says it has plans to install CCTV cameras and new technology at river mouths - after properties flooded and were left damaged in Haumoana.
A Tukituki River mouth blockage led to about six properties being flooded in Haumoana on Friday along Haumoana Rd.
An affected resident said it was one of the worst floods she had seen on her property in her 27 years living in the area.
Firefighters attended and helped evacuate residents at about noon before the council worked to open the Tukituki River mouth. The council is in charge of monitoring and clearing blockages at the river mouth to prevent flooding on nearby properties.
Two sleep outs where people were staying were both flooded, as well as at least three garages and multiple lawns.
Impacted residents said the flooding was "totally preventable" if the council kept a closer eye on blockages at the river mouth.
"We are very concerned that they could have opened the river mouth a lot earlier," said one resident, who did not want to be named.
"It is totally preventable, because as soon as they opened the river mouth the water level dropped."
Hawke's Bay Regional Council group manager asset management Chris Dolley said the council currently monitored 18 river mouths along the coast "to reduce the possibility of flooding".
Dolley said there were plans to introduce CCTV and new technology to better monitor river mouths including the Tukituki River.
"During the last long-term plan adopted in June 2021, the regional council made additional funding available for remote instrumentation and CCTV of all managed river mouths over a 10-year period," he said.
"The remote instrumentation would allow staff to assess water levels from the operational office at any time of day or night in real time in addition to the current field inspections.
"This work is currently in the planning phase."
Council currently does a physical inspection through an operational team visit on site, and makes an assessment of the situation using their "experience and judgement".
"Typically a photograph(s) will be taken along with some specific information such as the water level, tide and swell.
"Provision has been made in budgets to provide on average remote instrumentation and CCTV to two river mouth locations per year, over a nine year period."
He said on Thursday at about 5.30pm, and again on Friday about 7.30am, the Tukituki River was inspected by council staff and it was noted "the water levels had increased".
However, the river mouth was not cleared by council staff until urgent calls came in from residents, by which time properties had already flooded.
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said nobody was home when water began to spill on to his property from Grange Creek, and a colleague raised the alarm when he dropped a delivery at about noon.
"He called me and said 'I can't drop the stuff off at your house because it's under water'."
The resident quickly called the regional council, which sent out a digger to clear the river mouth.
"My house would have been a lot worse if my staff worker was not there."
He called on the council to monitor the river mouth with a computer sensor rather than just by looking at it every now and again.
"I understand I live in a flood area. If it was a flood I would understand, but when it is avoidable and it is not from a flood that is when it is frustrating."
He said properties between 1 and 7 Haumoana Rd had all been impacted.