Turnaround in river levels

From flows low enough to restrict water takes to those rising quickly, Otago's river levels have done a major turnaround in the past fortnight.

As a result, the Otago Regional Council has gone from warning on December 20 of possible irrigation restrictions to a careful watch on river levels which continue to rise as steady rain falls.

Council environmental services manager Martin King said the region's rivers were above normal for the time of year, especially those in North Otago which were listed as well above normal.

The council's latest rainfall and flow report showed the Taieri, Pomahaka, Waipahi and Manuherikia rivers to be at above normal levels.

It has rained on and off during the past week throughout the region with sites at Dragonfly, above Wanaka, recording 60mm, the Dasher in North Otago 23mm, Balclutha 16mm and Pine Hill in Dunedin 53mm.

MetService figures show it has rained on all but four days in the past fortnight in Dunedin, six days in Queenstown and three days in Oamaru.

Mr Martin said if the forecast rain continued ''like this'', slow and steady, there would be less likelihood of rivers flooding due to their earlier low levels.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz