19 February 2016

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is monitoring lakes and rivers in the region as heavy rain continues. It has issued warnings for the Kaituna, Whakatāne, Waimana and Waioeka/Otara Rivers, which continue to rise, with people in rural communities around these rivers being advised to move low-lying stock to higher ground.

The council has advised Trustpower to open the spillway at the Matahina Dam to manage rising lake levels. This release will increase river levels, and warnings have been issued.  This process began at 11am today.

Bay of Plenty lakes have also filled up overnight. The Okere Gates have been opened to alleviate lake level flows but the Kaituna River is still sustainable for rafting.

In the past 24 hours, the Western Bay of Plenty has received 70-100mm of rain. The Rotorua lakes received 90-100mm, Whakatāne River 50mm, upper Rangitāiki/Galatea 100-130mm, Ōpōtiki rivers 70-100mm and East Cape 260mm.

Principal engineering surveyor Graeme O’Rourke says the lake and river level rises are due to a stationary front overnight that brought more rain than anticipated.

“BOPRC continues to monitor the situation and will issue warnings as appropriate. We have staff on the ground in the affected areas. We will keep the community informed as the situation progresses.”

Another few hours of rain is expected in the Eastern Bay, with a heavy rain warning still in force until mid-afternoon.