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Published: 2008-08-06 00:00:00

As expected, water levels in the swollen Waikato and Waipa rivers are easing today as finer weather gives the catchments a chance to drain.

The lower Waikato River had been rising at 10cm a day on Monday and 4cm a day yesterday.

Now, water levels are slowly flattening out and beginning to recede at most catchment monitoring sites including Hamilton, Ngaruawahia, Huntly and Rangiriri. 

Further downstream water levels are steady at Whangamarino, Mercer and Tuakau and are expected to begin falling today as the flood peak moves down the river.

The Waipa River, which flows into the Waikato River at Ngaruawahia, peaked yesterday and is also receding slowly.

According to the current forecast, water levels should continue to fall until Friday, when more heavy rain is forecast for the region.

“The current fine spell is providing time for water to flush out of river systems,” Environment Waikato emergency management officer Adam Munro said.

“But we won’t see water levels drop off steeply because the ground is saturated and there’s still a lot of surface water that needs to drain off the land.  It will be a very slow process and rivers will remain high over the next few days at least.”

Mr Munro said Environment Waikato would continue 24-hour monitoring of the Waikato and Waipa rivers and would keep a close watch on the weather forecast.