Media release

Media release: Close watch remains on Otago rivers and streams

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Rainfall and high river flows are being closely monitored in Clutha, North Otago and Dunedin, with conditions beginning to ease in the north late this afternoon.

Update - 4:45pm

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency reports State Highway 1 between Palmerston and Dunedin will be reopened at 4.30pm today while SH1 south of Dunedin at Milton township remains open for now however people may want to consider traveling earlier or delaying travel in case the road closes.

Orbus Dunedin's route 1 bus service (to/from Palmerston) remains suspended and updates will be posted on Orbus Dunedin facebook page.

Dunedin City Council reported 28 road closures across the city and was responding to about 120 callouts relating to slips, fallen trees and localised flooding while the Waitaki district had 34 road closures and a number of conserve water notices in place. At least 30 roads across the Clutha District continue to be affected by surface flooding, with Milton, Waihola and the coast the worst affected areas.

Power outages have been reported across coastal Otago and people are reminded to turn off appliances and electrical equipment as some can be a fire hazard and others might be damaged when the power comes back on.

Emergency Management Otago Group Controller, Matt Alley says a “significant amount of rain” has already fallen in North Otago and the Dunedin areas during this weather event so far, with some of the coastal Otago rainfall recorders having recorded high totals in the range 110mm -150mm

Mr Alley says while some rivers peaked on Tuesday night, such as the Kakanui in North Otago, Dunedin’s Water of Leith and Lindsay Creek and Taieri’s Silver Stream, he cautioned the Dunedin catchments were still running high.

SH1 Waikouaiti River Bridge

State Highway 1, north of Dunedin, at the Waikouaiti River bridge at 9:45am today, then running at 470 cumecs. Photo: Chris Knox/ORC

The Otago Regional Council’s engineering and hydrology teams were continuing to monitor the waterways’ flows and also flood protection banks.

River monitoring with graphs is available on the Otago Regional Council’s website

“People should continue to check Facebook pages, websites and Waka Kotahi for updates on state highway and local road conditions,” he says.