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Published: 2008-08-03 00:00:00

Environment Waikato’s emergency response team is on heightened alert after heavy overnight rain on Lake Taupo and the Upper Waipa River catchment.

This morning, Lake Taupo was only 11 centimetres below its maximum storage level of 357.25 metres, meaning a greater likelihood of extra water needing to come down river from the Upper Waikato’s hydro electricity storage system.

Also, high flows coming down the Waipa River as a result of extra rainfall will also eventually feed into the Lower Waikato river.

Predictions at this stage are that the Lower Waikato River’s flood management systems will cope with the extra water flows. But it is also expected that the current high river levels and surface flooding in the Lower Waikato could last well into this week.

Emergency management officer Adam Munro said Environment Waikato and Mighty River Power (MRP) will continue to work closely to try to ensure that any extra flows from a nearly full Lake Taupo and the hydro schemes in the Upper Waikato River do not create any additional problems further downstream.

"The met service is expecting only one more band of heavy rain over the Waikato today and then the weather will be clearing up until Thursday. This breathing space will help the river systems to start flushing out but, due to the very full river systems in headwater areas, we can expect high river levels for some time.

"In the meantime, we’ll be keeping a close eye on things in case we get any more unexpected heavy rain falls or if river flows are higher than we predict."