After a one in five hundred year flood devastated Edgecumbe following a stop bank failure a week ago, the river is again being primed by another decaying tropical cyclone to make that potentially a two in a thousand year events, a week apart.
As I suggested in an earlier post such arrant nonsense is somewhat meaningless but I digress as it will matter little if the raging river again submerges large areas of Edgecumbe.
Now there are two man made (person made for the more sensitive) lakes on the longest river in the Bay of Plenty that begins its catchment in the foothills of the Ahimaniwhas on the Western border of Hawkes Bay and are of course subject to volumes of red tape, largely RMA generated, as to minimum lake levels, maximum lake levels, along with maximum and minimum flows, all set out after much debate and opinion from learned souls with seemingly adequate documented expertise and agreement often after endless hours of horse trading.
Maybe that should be horse manure, last week the debris of Cyclone Debbie delivered a heart breaking disaster to many of the citizens of a flood plain town that became a temporary inland sea.
Now it could be revealing if Joe public and in particular the poor souls almost wiped out, if an honest inquiry was held that considered such relevant matters as how much lower could say Lake Matahina have been taken to allow greater collection of the flood water and similarly how much more water could have been stored outside of the arbitrary statuary consent rules in situ as a maximum level while ensuring security of the earth structure.
Also background as to the release of spill to mitigate the maximum flow that became a one in five hundred flood event.
Yes the regional authority will be able to proclaim no fault from the protection afforded by statuary rules of the consents yet it is more than probable a human in possession of facts free from arbitrary set limitations could have made better decisions if not being at risk of total condemnation if the lake was taken to an ultra low level or outflow managing exceeding the max flows set out by fiat
This week we saw how the robotic computer algorithm got things so wrong in selecting the sixty year old man to be removed from the United aircraft at O'Hare airport in Chicago.
Maybe some person with access to rainfall data, actual and predicted and a much more flexible governance criteria might just have been better situated in managing the flow that culminated in the breach that caused such angst for the residents of the Bay Of Plenty Town.