The unusually dry winter has forced the Whakatāne District Council of North Island, New Zealand, to undertake dredging operations at the Whakatāne River bar.
Dredging has commenced on the outgoing tide to loosen the compacted sand between the narrows at the river entrance and the river bar, about 50 metres offshore. The loose sand will be taken out to sea in the tidal current, to a point where a proportion of it will carried away by the west-east current along the coast.
Harbour superintendent Isaac Tait said the ultimate goal of the dredging operation is to increase the depth at the entrance at low tide to 1.5 metres – the point where access restrictions come into effect. At low tide, with the river’s current flow, the water depth is just 400 millimetres.
The dredging is expected to be completed by August 15.
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