Media release

Heavy rain sees rivers rising in coastal and North Otago

Saturday 2 January 2021

With a MetService heavy rain warning in place for parts of Otago, rivers are rising in coastal and North Otago, and could continue to rise significantly this afternoon and overnight.

Yesterday’s heavy rainfall is forecast to intensify, with a further 60-100mm expected in coastal Otago and Dunedin city catchments this afternoon and tonight.


North Otago’s Kakanui and Kauru rivers have risen rapidly this morning and are expected to continue to rise. While flows are currently low in Dunedin and the lower Clutha, headwaters are rising rapidly in the Taieri catchment, with the Silverstream and other rivers in the Taieri catchment likely to rise significantly as a result. This could result in flooding within the Gordon Road floodway.


In urban Dunedin, the Leith and Lindsay are being closely monitored for risk of overtopping, with possibility of flooding in lower-lying areas close to these rivers as the event develops.


ORC engineering staff are monitoring pump stations and coastal mouths. Flood scheme infrastructure is currently performing as expected, with contractors on stand-by and available to assist with pump stations and coastal mouths if required.


Given the range of predicted rainfall, the impacts on rivers could also fall within a wide range. ORC’s 24/7 duty flood team are monitoring potential impacts on rivers closely as the rain event develops, and with further updates issued if needed.



Stay up-to-date through:
ORC flood alerts on twitter:

Up-to-date river levels, flow and rainfall information at sites across Otago:

Weather watches and warnings: