Media release

Otago lake levels to remain high for the next few weeks

Thursday 30 May 2019

Rainfall is expected to ease over the long weekend, according to MetService forecasts, but levels will remain high in Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka as water flows in from rivers.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) Manager Natural Hazards Jean-Luc Payan said there was currently no large flooding of lakes expected.

“The rainfall this week has raised lake levels in the Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka quite significantly, but they are not expected to reach flood levels.”

Dr Payan, who is also the Duty Flood Officer, said rainwater would now increase flows in the Lower Clutha catchment.

“Lake levels will remain high for the next couple of weeks, and could rise further if heavy rain occurs in the next week. The high flows from the headwaters will now travel downstream, increasing flows in the Lower Clutha catchment, but we expect the extra volume to be well contained within the riverbanks.”

While the rain is expected to ease in the coming days, ORC will continue to monitor rainfall, water levels and flow rates.

“It’s important that we keep our guard up after a rainfall event like this, while lakes are already at high levels,” said Dr Payan.

Live water monitoring information is available on the ORC’s website: or by phoning 0800 426 463.