Shovel-ready upgrade modernises pump station

Paoroa Flood Protection 011 Works supervisor Hayden McGregor can now control the pumps from his phone Paoroa Flood Protection 011
Paoroa Flood Protection 006 Aerial view showing Mill Road pump stations (left and right) and floodgate (middle), which move floodwaters through the stopbank into the Waihou River Paoroa Flood Protection 006

A structural and telemetric upgrade of two pump stations at Mill Road, Paeroa, is the first of Waikato Regional Council’s shovel-ready infrastructure projects to be completed

The Council received approximately $29 million from the Government as part of its economic response to COVID-19, when it called for shovel-ready infrastructure and environmental restoration projects to stimulate industries and the economy, be of public or regional benefit and create jobs.

Flood protection and land drainage manager Adam Munro says farmers would appreciate the completion of the Mill Road pump stations upgrades given the recent bouts of wet weather.

"They should be seeing their paddocks draining quicker. The community has had a really great project completed. We now have better water management in the catchment," says Adam.

The two pump stations are a critical part of the Waihou Piako scheme that protects Paeroa, Te Aroha, Turua, Kopu, Ngatea, and Thames, and 250,000 hectares of farmland and state highways.

The pump stations have been given ‘brains’, a smartification programme, meaning they can be controlled from a mobile phone. "Being able to troubleshoot remotely means there is less delay getting back to pumping water. Staff do not have to go on-site," says Adam.

Part of the upgrades included new inlet bays, complete with weed screens and a standing platform so a digger can now clear away any debris caught in the floodwaters instead of staff doing it by hand.

In total, Waikato Regional Council secured $16 million from the Government’s COVID-19 recovery fund for flood protection infrastructure projects totalling over $25 million.

Other projects, which are still being worked on, include:

  • a similar upgrade to the Roger Harris pump station near Paeroa
  • upgrading up to five pumps to enable safe passage of native fish
  • replacing three floodgates reaching their end of life with one, near the mouth of the Piako River, which includes setting back stopbanks and creating wetland habitat for wading birds
  • completing the final section of stopbank at Ngatea to design height
  • upgrading the Firth of Thames foreshore stopbanks to design height
  • the design and build of a replacement vessel for the Tamahere 94 barge, which was used as a work platform in the Waikato and Waipa rivers over the last 50 years

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