Media release

Media release: River and lake levels across Otago being monitored closely following heavy rain

Friday 22 September 2023

Otago Regional Council staff are continuing to closely monitor lake and river levels around the region following heavy rain.

As of 1.45pm.


ORC Duty Flood Manager Tim van Woerden says river and lake levels are elevated across Otago, but rain has now eased in the upper lakes catchments and it is anticipated that river levels will continue to fall, and lake levels should peak later today.

“Some rivers have or will trigger warning alarms but not at levels that are of concern. The Clutha River at Balclutha is predicted to reach 1750 cumecs from around 3am Saturday morning and is expected to remain at this level for some time. This is at about the second flood warning level but the river would not overtop floodbanks at this level.”

The rivers feeding Lake Whakatipu have peaked and are steadily receding. Lake Whakatipu is predicted to approach its first alarm level of 310.8m later this afternoon before receding. 

There is no concern for Lake Wānaka which is expected to remain below the first alarm level of 279.4m.

There has also been widespread moderate rainfall throughout the rest of the region, including the Taieri, Pomahaka and central Otago catchments, but no significant issues are expected in these areas.

In preparation for the forecast rainfall and high flows, ORC staff were readying flood infrastructure, inspecting and opening river mouths where required.

Staff are continuing to communicate directly with any landowners in the Balclutha area that may be affected by the high flows.

ORC staff will continue to actively monitor the situation.

Information about the impact of the weather on roading and other local infrastructure will come from Emergency Management Otago or local councils.


Find more information: