Heavy rain hits jet-boat services

Shotover Jet's boats were back on the water yesterday after an ''unfortunate'' start to the new year, with operations suspended for more than two days.

Marketing manager Nigel Kerr told the Otago Daily Times yesterday afternoon the heavy rain, which began on New Year's Eve, was unrelenting and caused the Shotover River to rise quickly.

''When it rains like that, the river comes up and ... it's just diabolically wet and bumpy.''

Mr Kerr said on New Year's Day the river was assessed and found to be in flood so the decision was made to suspend the operation until the river dropped.

The Otago Regional Council river and rainfall information showed the Shotover River at Bowens Peak peaked about 180cumecs on Wednesday.

Mr Kerr said overnight snow on Wednesday was a blessing for the company as it stopped some of the rain entering the river.

''There probably would have been [debris] but that's not really the issue ... we just had so much water going through ... it's decidedly uncomfortable [and] it's not fun.''

The river was reassessed yesterday morning, with the first trip for the new year on the water at 1pm and fully booked all afternoon.

''It's been an unfortunate start to the new year, but hopefully that's all behind us now.''

KJet, formerly Kawarau Jet, and Thunder Jet, both of which operate on the Kawarau River, remained fully operational despite the rain.

A Dart River Jet Safaris spokeswoman said the company also suspended operations on Tuesday because of the heavy rain - causing the Dart River to rise from its usual 200cumecs to about 900cumecs.

The spokeswoman said trips were also cancelled on Wednesday morning, but the operation resumed on Wednesday afternoon and it was now business as usual.

Meanwhile, the ORC has posted high-level alerts for the Clutha River below the Cardrona confluence and the Clutha River at Balclutha, both of which had passed their first flood warnings yesterday.

The Clutha River below the Cardrona confluence was running at 605cumecs by 4pm yesterday, having peaked at more than 650cumecs.

The first flood warning for the river was 600cumecs.

The Clutha River at Balclutha was running at 1246cumecs yesterday, above its first flood warning of 1140cumecs. The river downstream of the Roxburgh dam peaked at 1100cumecs on Wednesday night and at 5pm yesterday was still 970cumecs, 480cumecs above its mean flow.