Farmers, campers get flood warning

The rain may have stayed away but coastal Otago campers, farmers and anglers are being warned of possible flooding near rivers today following heavy rain in river catchments yesterday.

Otago rivers and lakes were already running high yesterday, prompting the Otago Regional Council to closely monitor river and lake levels and alert farmers in areas such as the lower Clutha, that they may have to move stock. People camping along the banks of the Manuherikia River are also being warned to beware rising water levels.

Heavy rain in the headwaters yesterday and early today will take some time to work its way downstream, but Environment Canterbury (ECan) Timaru duty flood controller Chris Fauth said the Waitaki River was yesterday running at two and a-half times its normal flow and , was not expected to peak until today.

''It has been raining heavily in the upper catchment. Some of the rain gauges up there have started to record high-intensity rain - more than 20mm an hour.''

Mr Fauth said the lower Waitaki River was yesterday running at between 1000cumecs and 1100cumecs. It was already at flood level and was expected to rise ''significantly'' today.

''Anything at these levels or higher could bring issues. But the higher and higher it gets the more likely it is that we will get issues. It's a very unpredictable river and you can't rule out even some minor overflows from the river, even at the levels we are at now.