Eagle Eye: River levels Under Close Watch

Published: 18-Aug-2017

Due to the high rainfall and snow melt in the alpine catchment over recent days, a close flood watch is being kept on the Waimakariri River.

Because of this, the intake gates on the Waimakariri water scheme will remain closed until further notice.  This move is necessary to protect the intake infrastructure. Waimakariri River

It does not mean that there is any immediate danger of the Waimakariri flooding.

The river level peaked at the state highway 1 bridge at midnight last night, just before high tide, reaching a level just shy of 800 cumecs.  To put this in context, the total was significantly higher than last month’s flood event, where the peak level the river got to was 680 cumecs.

While the rise is no cause for concern at this stage from a flood perspective, with average level the river has had to reach before it has flooded previously being recorded at 1495 cumecs, it is important that we manage our infrastructure assets to ensure minimal disruption, hence the need to close the intake gates for now.

We currently have our maintenance crews out checking pump stations, screens, grates and flapgates. We also have crews on standby to mobilise sucker trucks and temporary pumps if necessary.

We are watching the weather forecasts to see if the predicted rainfall on Sunday will eventuate to something more severe than currently predicted.  The Waimakariri River levels peaked at midnight last night so are expected to be at lower levels by Sunday.

The water race system is being proactively managed by Waimakariri Irrigation Limited to provide some baseflow while still being able to shut it down quickly if necessary.

The Council is keeping a close eye on the water levels in our rivers across the District, as well as on the forecast, most notable for Sunday, where more significant alpine rain is predicted.

Preparations are being made across the organisation in the event that the rain causes any more problems.

Name: Matt McIlraith

Phone: 0800 965 468