The work currently going on at the Maitai golf course involves a rather ingenious solution to a complex problem.

During the August floods, a large amount of gravel and debris eroded several riverbanks along the Maitai River.

Two sections of the river urgently need rock armouring to protect both the road by Groom Creek and the golf course. Removing the gravel and debris from the riverbed, so it can return to pre-flood levels, also improves the river’s ability to deal with increased flows during future heavy rainfall. This will provide extra flood protection to nearby properties and the golf course.

To clear the debris Nelson City Council diverted the river using a pump that can send about 750 litres per second through a series of pipes. This gives us easy access to the riverbed and prevents any adverse effects downstream. All of the work is being carried out under the supervision of a river ecologist to ensure the environmental impact is minimal. For instance, before the river was diverted, 14 staff salvaged fish from the area.

This is a great example of the sort of lateral thinking staff and contractors have applied to Council’s recovery work. Our aim is to build back better, and this work will help the Maitai cope with future heavy rainfall events. The work between golf course and Groom Creek is expected to be completed by the end May this year but is weather dependent. The estimated cost is $1.4m.