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  Community » What's Happening » News » Media releases » Waikato starts to dry out but river levels will remain high for some time

Waikato starts to dry out but river levels will remain high for some time

Flood protection assets overall have performed well in the heavy rain that’s swept through the region, says Waikato Regional Council.

There has been extensive surface flooding and river levels are elevated – to record highs in places. There’s good weather forecast for the next few days with no significant rain expected for the next week or so.

“However, the region is very saturated with some farmers having issues due to surface flooding.  River levels are expected to stay high for some days, while surface flooding will also take some time to drain, perhaps several weeks in parts,” said regional hazards team leader Rick Liefting. 

“So people need to be aware of the risks associated with these and take care while water levels reduce.

“It has been satisfying though to see that our stopbank network has been standing the test of two recent high rainfall events and that other flood-protection assets have also generally performed well.

“Co-operation with Mercury over managing flows through the Waikato hydro system to help prevent flooding has also paid dividends. For example, it’s helped prevent the need for evacuations in Hamilton.

“The council’s local flood response teams in parts of the region have been very active in monitoring the flood protection network and responding to any issues as they arise. Things have gone really smoothly in that respect. We will continue to monitor the network closely.”

The level of Lake Taupo is currently sitting just below its maximum control level and is not expected to exceed this. The discharge rate from Taupo will remain at its maximum level of 300 cubic metres a second for some time to help get the level down. The council will continue to work closely with Mercury to manage the downstream effects of such high flows.

It’s expected river levels in the lower Waikato River catchment will remain high for at least the next few days, and be elevated generally into next week. Ponding of surface water there will slowly drain off as river levels fall. Land in areas around the lower Waikato River system is likely to remain saturated, and may have surface flooding, for at least a week. But Lake Karapiro discharges will be decreasing over time which will help alleviate high river levels in the lower Waikato.

Meanwhile, in the east of the region a number of monitoring sites for the Waihou and Piako rivers have seen their highest recorded river height levels. Record flows will continue to come through these systems for the next few days.

“We are keeping a close eye on the stability and integrity of the council’s stopbanks in this area due to the large volumes of water,” said Mr Liefting.

Ponding of surface water on farm land and ongoing drainage is expected to continue for up to a week in these eastern areas. River levels at Ngatea are expected to rise over the next few days as water works its way through the system.

People are encouraged to call the council on 0800 800 401 if they have any concerns over stopbank or other flood scheme-related matters.

On the stock welfare front, the Rural Support Trust in partnership with civil defence is working with farmers to ensure they and their stock are okay.

The Rural Support Trust reminds farmers to keep an eye on their neighbours. Advice or other assistance is available by calling 0800 RURAL HELP (0800 787 254).

The Federated Farmers support line is 0800 FARMING.

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