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Published: 2002-07-10 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is making the most of a brief break in the bad weather to assess the flooding throughout the Waikato and Waipa river systems.

With more rain expected late tomorrow and Friday as a new front hits the country, long fine breaks today will provide an opportunity to move water through the slow systems to the sea. However, low lying areas in the lower Waikato can expect to be flooded as water travels north.

The Regional Council’s Flood Response Team has been on alert for several days as constant rain added to already soggy catchments and full rivers and lakes. It is working closely with Genesis and Mighty River Power to control as much water as possible flowing through the hydro dams to reduce downstream flooding, and create a little storage room to accommodate expected rain.

Lake Taupo is holding steady just below its maximum control level. Flood control manager Scott Fowlds said the system is slow moving and it would take several days to a week for the river to drop one metre following the peak, even if there was no more rain. With more rain expected, low lying areas could expect some localised flooding and ponding as waters were still rising at Ngaruawahia, Huntly, Rangiriri and Mercer.

Hamilton City Council had been informed that the river was peaking through the city today and river walking paths have been closed as many are under water.