Waitaki revellers risk holiday wash-out

Hundreds of New Year revellers camping in the Waitaki Valley are facing the possibility of a holiday wash-out, with record rainfall predicted for the Southern Alps that could flood the Waitaki River.

Although a flood alert had not been put in place, Environment Canterbury (ECan) South Canterbury duty flood controller Tony Henderson said holidaymakers should keep a close watch on lake and river levels.

"We've been told between 150-200 mm of rainfall could fall in the catchments of both the Waitaki and Rangitata rivers between now and about midday on Wednesday.

"It is vitally important that holidaymakers who are camping or simply visiting high country lakes and these two rivers keep a very close watch on water levels.''

He said because the rain was predicted to fall mostly in the mountains, it was especially important that people in the plains area, where the weather could continue to be fine, also stayed alert as rivers could still pose a threat to safety as flood waters flowed downstream.

He added that ECan staff would monitor river and lake levels until the threat of flooding had passed, and urged campers to keep up to date by listening to radio updates or through the ECan website.