50-page ex-Cyclone Gita report publicly released

18 December 2018

An NPDC review into the response to February’s water outage following ex-Cyclone Gita has made six major recommendations for improvement and 22 minor recommendations. The review, which was peer-reviewed by Wellington Water, has found NPDC’s response was rapid, effective and no notable failures were found.

NPDC Chief Executive Craig Stevenson said ex-Cyclone Gita was one of the most powerful storms on record to hit Taranaki.

“The winds during the February cyclone reached 104km/h, the third highest in Taranaki since records began in 1972. I want to again apologise to everyone for the inconvenience the disruption to our water supply caused. We’re releasing our 50-page incident report publicly which includes some useful findings that we’re taking on board about our complex water network that features more than 800 kilometres of pipes ranging in age from near new, to more than 100 years old,” says Mr Stevenson.

Mayor of New Plymouth District Neil Holdom says he’d like to acknowledge the community spirit during the event.

“Our ‘can-do-attitude’, community spirit and ability to help each other during the water outage in February, is one of the many reasons why I love this place. As a result of our experience dealing with ex-Cyclone Gita, we asked the public during our 10-Year Plan consultation if we should invest more in our water infrastructure. The answer was a resounding yes, so we’ve listened and are investing an extra $44 million in water network resilience over the next decade,” says Mayor Holdom.

The report’s six major recommendations are:

  • an adjustment of future operations and maintenance budgets
  • a study of appropriate infrastructure resiliency levels
  • a study into raw water sources for contingency use
  • risk assessment of water connections and installation of backflow protection devices at key connections
  • a review of all asset management data
  • an update of NPDC’s emergency plans. 

 The pipe bridge that was hit by the tree during the cyclone has been permanently repaired. NPDC has inspected more than 10,000 trees across the district since February and less than 0.1% - or just five trees - have been scheduled for removal.

Fast facts 

  • Around 10,000 homes were without water for approximately three days and some 26,000 properties were issued a boil water notice for a further seven days.
  • There were no instances of water-related sickness during this period.
  • Once water supply was restored, during the three days of testing the number of water quality samples taken represented an approximate 400% increase on the routine sampling taken during normal operations.
  • The economic impact on the community has been estimated at $4.5million.

A copy of the incident report can be found on our reports web page.

Ex-cyclone Gita water warriors