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Published: 2008-08-14 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is working closely with Mighty River Power (MRP) to carefully control the release of water from Lake Taupo through the Waikato hydro system in advance of more heavy rain.

The water level is being controlled so it is kept away from Hamilton people’s river front homes.

“We are closely monitoring the extra flows, which are being kept below levels that would pose any significant risk to private property,” Environment Waikato duty emergency management officer Adam Munro said.

“We are keeping home owners informed of the situation, but are not expecting high river levels to cause any problems at this stage.”

On advice from Environment Waikato, MRP is releasing water from Lake Taupo and Lake Karapiro to create more storage for expected high inflows in the Taupo area.

The move comes following a heavy rain warning issued by the MetService, which could see up to 100mm of rain fall over the Taupo catchment over a 24-hour period from this evening onwards.

“Lake Taupo is still 11cm below its maximum control level, but we need to create some storage because catchments are still saturated and the lake’s tributaries will respond quickly to any rain,” Environment Waikato emergency management officer Adam Munro said.

“We’re keeping a very close eye on rainfall and river levels and working with Mighty River Power to carefully balance flows through the upper, middle and lower Waikato, while ensuring private property is protected.”

Mr Munro said Hamilton residents could expect to see high river levels in the city over the next few days.

“We are closely monitoring the effects of the extra flows and will continue to keep landowners, Hamilton City Council, Civil Defence and other affected parties up to date,” he said.

“Low lying Hamilton areas, such as the Waikato River walkways, could be underwater for several days, and we are asking people to be vigilant and keep an eye on the weather and river levels.”