Media release

ORC continuing to monitor Otago river levels

Monday 23 May 2016

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is continuing to monitor river levels in Otago, even though heavy rain which fell throughout the weekend is beginning to ease.

ORC director engineering, hazards, and science Dr Gavin Palmer said the Pomahaka River in South Otago is high and rising.

The Clutha River at Balclutha is also higher than normal, and is currently rising, and has passed through the first warning stage. However, Dr Palmer said that apart from water on some low-lying land directly beside the river, the effects of this flooding were proving to be minimal.

There are higher than normal flows in other South Otago rivers, although nothing exceptional at this stage.

In Dunedin, the Silver Stream and Water of Leith are also responding to the heavy rain over the weekend. The Water of Leith is falling, after peaking at 35 cumecs. During the June 2015 flood the Leith peaked at 100 cumecs.

The Silver Stream is gradually receding. Water can start to overtop the Gordon Road spillway, onto the floodplain opposite Mosgiel, at about 95 cumecs. Initially any overflow is minimal at this flow however. The June 2015 flood peaked at 129 cumecs.

Rainfall has become less intense in the Clutha and Dunedin districts to 1-2mm per hour (previously this was 5-10mm/hr). In North Otago, rivers remain low but are starting to respond to the moderate rainfall.

MetService advises that the rainfall throughout the region should ease throughout the day, and stop altogether this afternoon.

The low centred east of Otago moves slowly north-eastwards today. The first burst of significant snow has passed, but there will be another burst from this afternoon to evening.

In North Otago a further 20cm of snow above 800 metres is expected with lesser amounts to 600 metres. Elsewhere, less than 10cm is expected. The snow should ease overnight tonight.

More information about river levels is available at WaterInfo

For further information contact

Dr Gavin Palmer
Director engineering, hazards, and science
03 474 0827 or 0274 943 900