Adapting at speed, when the worst happens

When Cyclone Gabrielle wrought havoc across the Hawke’s Bay, the Regional Council faced the challenge of getting their overwhelmed stormwater network back up and running.

Over 780mm of rain fell in nine hours. Flood waters breached stop banks, submerged pump stations and inundated the network with water and debris. The key focus for the Council’s Works Group was shifting enough water to gain access to the network for repair.

Prime Pump was brought in from the outset to support. They mobilised a team of six and a total of 36 pumps for the relief effort.

“Our job was to get the water back into the rivers as efficiently as possible so the diggers could come in and the Works Group guys could repair the pump stations and clear the drains,” says Prime Pump key account manager, Glenn Powell.

“We added six trailer-mounted mobile flood units, two tractor pumps and 27 diesel drive vacuum prime pumps to the network.”

Prime Pump used mid-sized BBA pumps because they were high flow, easy to move and extremely fuel efficient. “At peak flow we were shifting close to 5,000 litres per second,” says Glenn.

With pumps in multiple locations, the Prime Pump team stayed nearby. “Nothing was too hard for them,” says Mark Cadwallader, from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Works Group.

“Every morning they went around tweaking the pumps, making sure they were working at their maximum.”

The dewatering effort in the Hawke’s Bay was an example of Prime Pump deploying people and pumps at speed. “With nationwide sales and hire, we do have the scale to bring resources together during these extreme weather events,” says Powell.

“We have mobile assets like the trailer-mounted flood response units but we also provide fixed solutions that require a fraction of the infrastructure of traditional pump stations.

“Pumps are a last line of defence during flood events. Ultimately, our goal is to work with Regional and local Councils to improve the resilience of their network.”