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Published: 2010-09-19 00:00:00

Environment Waikato says the levels of the Waikato and Waipa rivers could stay elevated for an extended period due to recent conditions. At this stage the council’s flood management system is expected to cope but there will be localised surface flooding around the region near lakes and rivers. No major problems have been reported so far.

Overnight rain has pushed up the level of the Waipa River and EW is assessing the implications of this. Also, the level of Lake Taupo is high and rain has been continuing around the lake as well.

Emergency management officer Adam Munro said EW is working closely with hydro electricity company Mighty River Power to manage flows in the Waikato River system.

“We can expect high flows in the Waikato and Waipa rivers for one to two weeks due to the high level of Lake Taupo, ongoing rain and the already saturated catchments in our region.

“Our flood management system is coping well. However, we will continually reassess rainfall and river flow data and advise the public of any actions they need to take if conditions change,” said Mr Munro.

Meanwhile, Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management group controller Scott Fowlds said the fact there had been power outages, slips and surface flooding of roads in the region meant residents needed to be careful.

There has been surface flooding of state highway one on the eastern shore of Lake Taupo between Turangi and Taupo, while state highway 41 on the southern shores of the lake has been closed by a slip.

“We urge people to check with the AA or the NZ Transport Agency if they plan journeys by road to ensure they can get to where they want to go,” said Mr Fowlds.

“Also, people should take care when driving in wet conditions and remember that they could come across unexpected road closures or hazards. This will be particularly important for any people traveling through the Waikato at the end of weekend journeys.”