Response planning for potential flooding of the Waitaki

Published: 22 Jun 2017

Photo taken by Cr Jakki Guilford

A large group of emergency services and local representatives on both sides of the Waitaki River met on Tuesday in Waimate to discuss and plan their response should a flooding event occur.This group consisted of the Mayors and Councillors of both the Waimate and Waitaki District Councils and their respective Emergency Operation Centre staff, representatives of Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management, Meridian Energy, Environment Canterbury, Police, Fire, Rural Fire, St John, SC Rural Support Trust, Media and representatives of both the Ikawai and Hakataramea communities.

The scenario presented was a late December significant rain event at the headwaters of the Waitaki Dam also affecting coastal Waitaki River - the lakes were at maximum capacity from prior heavy rainfalls and the camping grounds on both sides of the Waitaki were full to capacity.

Waimate District Council’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Coordinator Hilary Botting says the day was valuable, and came about through concerns from the community of the supply of information in the event of a potential flooding of the Waitaki river system. She says it is vital everybody knows who does what in any flooding emergency.

Mrs Botting adds that in a heavy rainfall situation, people need to keep up to date with information themselves by using Environment Canterbury https://www.ecan.govt.nz/data/riverflow/ and MetService www.metservice.co.nz websites. She adds the message is always to ‘be prepared to cope for three days’ in any emergency - and with winter now here it is timely to look at stocking up on food, water and any other necessary supplies.