Media release

Forecast predicts more heavy rainfall ahead for Otago

Thursday 1 February 2018

With ongoing rainfall, ORC staff are closely monitoring river levels; Engineering and Operations staff are out in the field ensuring culverts and outfalls are clear. ORC pump stations are ready to operate. ORC is not currently expecting any significant overtopping of the region’s rivers and waterways.

Rainfall outlook:

The latest MetService issue this morning forecast more significant heavy rain and strong winds to hit the South Island. A Severe Weather Warning for Heavy Rain in Otago remains in place from 10:00am Thursday – 12:00am Friday. A further 80 – 150mm of rain is expected to accumulate, particularly in the west of the region. North Otago is expected to receive 50 – 80mm rain. Rain is expected to ease around midnight tonight (Thursday). 

Likely outlook for rivers:

Waterways in West Otago, Dart River, Shotover River, Matukituki River, and Makarora River are high and expected to peak in the next few hours. Central Otago rivers will rise and are anticipated to peak later this afternoon. For Dunedin area, the Water of Leith and Lindsay Creek are likely to rise rapidly and to peak later this afternoon or early evening, no overtopping is expected. The contractor working on the Leith Flood Protection Scheme below Union St on campus are making the work site safe. Silver Stream will also rise, but the Gordon Rd spillway is not expected to operate. In South Otago, the Pomahaka River will rise, but no significant overtopping is anticipated. The Taieri River at Henley is not likely to overtop its banks. River mouths along the coast have been checked and cleared if required.

Mt Roy potential mud flows:

While no mud flows appear to have happened yet, the warning to Wanaka residents in the Mt Roy area between Stoney Creek and Waterfall Creek remains current. As it may take a certain amount of rain to saturate the loose soil and generate run-off and muddy sediment flows, people are advised to remain vigilant and aware of potential flows for the duration of the rainfall.

Otago Regional Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council are working with Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management to continue monitoring the situation.

Stay up-to-date through these channels:

Further updates will be given via ORC social media channels if necessary; to speak to someone if you have immediate concerns please contact the Regional Council on 0800 474 082. In the event of any threat to your property please call 111. 

For more information contact:

Dr Gavin Palmer
Director Engineering, Hazards and Science
Otago Regional Council
0800 474 082


Sian Sutton
Director Stakeholder Engagement
Otago Regional Council
027 575 1799