Napier had 10 hours of drinking water supply left as power cuts during Cyclone Gabrielle also affected the city’s bore sites, a new report says.
Napier City Council released a locality plan this week, setting out the main priorities to be addressed in the next six months as part of the cyclone recovery.
It includes fresh details about how the city coped in the days after Cyclone Gabrielle, which struck on February 14.
The report looked into drinking water, stating that “the city had 10 hours of water usage left as electricity is needed for treating the water”.
A council spokesperson said “supplies were normal” for drinking water when electricity dropped out across Napier on the morning of February 14, after severe damage to the electricity network.
Generators were connected about 14 hours later to three bore sites. The city’s drinking water is treated at each bore site and each requires electricity.
“By the time we got the generators connected to the bores – within 14 hours – the city had approximately 10 hours of water storage left,” the spokesperson said.
“The risk of water running out was low and three bores were connected to generators and the storage capacity was restored.”
All Hawke’s Bay councils are compiling locality plans to help the Hawke’s Bay Regional Recovery Agency gain a clearer picture of the work that needs to be done, and the support that will be required from the Government.
One of the key goals is also to avoid risky situations repeating, with the report stating that Napier was “on the brink of civil unrest”.
“While we cannot control the nature of future events, the intent and cornerstone of our recovery planning is that our community is never placed in this completely isolated and vulnerable situation again,” the report says.
“Over 70,000 residents were left without lifelines including health services, power, road connectivity (in every direction), wastewater, drinking water, internet and cellphone networks.
“It is sobering to reflect that there was serious concern that our city had access to food, as [most] supermarkets were down and there was no effective means of communicating. We were on the brink of civil unrest.”
The priorities that need to be addressed in the next six months, according to the report, include an upgrade of stormwater pumps in the Awatoto area, stopbank repairs and protection, re-commissioning of the Awatoto wastewater plant, road and bridge repairs and rail repairs.
The council also highlighted the need for more Government assistance for horticulture, tourism and other businesses heavily hit by the cyclone, above what had already been allocated.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said the short-term investment required for Napier council projects alone was $74 million.
“The Napier region absolutely needs more financial support from the Government, as does the whole of Hawke’s Bay,” she said.
“There is still a lot of work to be done to quantify the total funding requirements across the region, which will form part of the phase two recovery planning we are undertaking over the next six months.”