Warning to keep eye out for debris

Dave Black
Dave Black
Boaties are urged to be cautious of floating debris in lakes Wakatipu, Wanaka, Hawea and Dunstan following last week’s torrential rain that brought widespread flooding to Otago and Southland.

Queenstown Lakes District Council deputy harbour master Dave Black said there was a ‘‘fair bit’’ of debris in the lakes and anyone heading out on the water needed to be vigilant.

‘‘We can’t stop people going out, of course, but they need to really keep an eye out.’’

Debris could be partially submerged or floating just below the surface.

His advice was to stay off the water for a few days until the lakes cleared, Mr Black said.

The clearing of the lakes meant that anything floating in the water inevitably went downstream.

‘‘The problem with Lake Dunstan is they get all of our stuff eventually.’’

Contact Energy spokesman Paul Ford said staff at the company’s Clyde Dam operation were aware debris was washing down the Clutha River into Lake Dunstan.

‘‘We’d encourage people to take care if they’re intending to get out on the lake over the next few days.’’

However, the company was not obligated to keep the lake clear, Mr Ford said.

‘‘We don’t have an obligation to remove debris from Lake Dunstan, but we do remove driftwood and so on from the Old Cromwell precinct area after significant flood events. We were set to go and do a bit of a clean-up after the high flows in December, but postponed it due to these recent high flows. We’ll be doing this work soon.’’

No risk was posed to the dam, he said.

‘‘Floating debris like driftwood doesn’t usually impact our operation of the Clyde Dam. There is a log boom upstream of the dam and this catches the majority of debris that comes down the lake and we remove it as required with a digger.’’

Any debris that got past the boom and on to dam intake screens was removed with a screen cleaner located on the deck of the dam, Mr Ford said.

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