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Regional council watching river levels closely

update at 1600hrs
Waikato Regional Council is continuing to monitor levels of the Waipa and Lower Waikato rivers, as well as waterways in west coast catchments, after extensive rain over the weekend and during today.

Heavy rain fell in the Waipa and west coast catchments at the weekend and up to another 40 millimetres fell between 8am and 3pm today, creating expectations of a once-in-20-year flood event in those areas.

As the Waipa joins the Waikato River at Ngaruawahia, there is also potential for flooding of the Lower Waikato River as well.

Flood plains around the swollen Waipa and Lower Waikato rivers, and west coast waterways, are expected to be saturated, while surface flooding in many areas is predicted.

Farmers are urged to keep up to date on water levels and move stock to higher ground if necessary, while residents are advised that local roads could be affected by flooding and slips.

River levels in the Upper Waipa catchment are expected to peak tonight and then start receding. But levels further downstream in the Waipa and Lower Waikato are expected to remain high for several days as water works its way downstream.

The council has been liaising with Mighty River Power which has been releasing extra water from Lake Karapiro today. This is so that the company, if necessary, will be able to keep water back from the Lower Waikato over coming days as flood waters coming from the Waipa remain high.

The council’s regional hazards programme manager Adam Munro said the situation appeared stable at this stage but the council would update its advice as necessary.

“Our staff are keeping a close eye on things and we will continue to work closely with Mighty River Power and others to manage the situation.”

But Mr Munro stressed that people still needed to be alert to the potential for flood plains to be inundated, general surface flooding and potential problems with road access.

“People should exercise caution and avoid taking any risks in flooded areas.”

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