Close eye kept on river and lake levels

The level of Lake Wakatipu continues to gradually rise. At 4pm yesterday it was 311.34 metres...
The level of Lake Wakatipu continues to gradually rise. At 4pm yesterday it was 311.34 metres above sea level - by comparison, during the 2010 flood it was 311.48msl. PHOTO: TRACEY ROXBURGH
The worst of the wet may be over in Queenstown for now, but both the Otago Regional and Queenstown Lakes District Councils will be keeping a close eye on river and lake levels, and the forecast.

In the resort last night Lake Wakatipu was continuing to slowly rise, sitting at 311.372m above sea level at 6pm. It is expected to reach its peak, 311.4m, today. By contrast, the level of the lake during the 2010 flood event was 311.48m.

While sandbags remain in place around the Queenstown CBD, the only sign of flooding yesterday afternoon was in a section of Beach St near Earnslaw Park. That section of the road, between Rees St and Shotover St, was closed at 8pm to ensure the water was not pushed into nearby businesses.

It was reopened at 6am today.

Meanwhile, Queenstown Airport contractors worked through Saturday night to restore internet connections in time for the first scheduled services yesterday morning after Spark’s two fibre-optic lines to the South were damaged by floods and slips.

Queenstown Airport corporate and community affairs general manager Sara Irvine said the airport had its own back-up network and airport staff called in external IT contractors to ensure alternative internet was available yesterday morning.

"That was in place in time for the Queenstown Airport Corporation-owned check-in, and we worked with Air New Zealand to make sure their check-in was up to speed as quickly as possible."

While the national carrier did some manual check-ins yesterday morning, all passengers booked with Virgin, Qantas and Jetstar were able to use the airport’s check-in kiosks.

Two Air New Zealand flights from Auckland were cancelled.

Ms Irvine said the airport’s backup system was online about 8.30am and Spark’s network was restored about two hours later.

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