23 Nov 2018

Henley residents cut off for days as floods swamp Otago

3:37 pm on 23 November 2018

The small Otago settlement of Henley remains cut off three days after torrential rain flooded much of the region.

A road to Henley is cut off after heavy rain flooded Otago.

Many Henley residents have been trapped by floodwater covering the roads out of town. Photo: RNZ / Jonathon Mitchell

Some residents followed advice to leave, but others have held firm.

For those who stayed in their homes as the Taieri River flooded its banks, it was a nervous night on Tuesday.

But long-time resident Jock Hartigan said it was nothing they had not seen before.

He has enough food to last another two or three days.

The water has begun to subside, but all the roads out remain under heavy water and are accessible only by four-wheel drive.

Locals are waiting for the floodwaters to recede before a proper clean-up can begin.

Other parts of Clutha District are slowly emerging from the worst of the week's flooding, but further rain is forecast.

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Flooding in Clutha was severe on Wednesday (as pictured) and rivers are still running high in the region. Photo: RNZ

Tapanui's 700 residents came close to running out of clean water last night, because so much mud was getting into the main reservoir.

But Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan said their water conservation efforts meant supplies did not run dry and are slowly starting to build up again.

Snow melt and the shear amount of water still coming down from the hills means the Pomahaka, Clutha and Taieri Rivers are still running high.

Mr Cadogen said with the ground still sodden, one more heavy downpour could lead to further flooding.

Flooding on the Manuherikia River around Ophir.

Flooding on the Manuherikia River around Ophir. Photo: Supplied / Central Otago District Council

MetService said rain would fall over the weekend, but is unlikely to be a major headache for the soaked Otago region.

Otago Regional Council staff are monitoring the flood banks on rivers, which so far are holding up well.

Weekend rain is expected to increase river levels in North Otago, but they are unlikely to get to levels seen earlier this week.

The Central Otago settlement of Ophir is at risk of flooding from the Manuherikia River.

Residents who need sandbags can get them from Ophir Hall.

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