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With severe weather on its way Environment Canterbury is working with Selwyn District Council to open the mouth of the Rakaia River to alleviate probable flooding and damage to property in the area.
“We are satisfied that an emergency event is imminent given the severe rain warnings for this weekend,” says Environment Canterbury Resource Management Director Kim Drummond.
“What this means is that we’ve given the go-ahead for Selwyn District Council to open the Rakaia river mouth under the emergency provisions of the Resource Management Act which allows work to be carried out if people and/or property are in danger.”
Environment Canterbury have staff at the river mouth today with earthmoving equipment undertaking some preparation work.
“With the Rakaia river mouth having migrated to its current position opposite the Rakaia Huts settlement there is every chance the bad weather and storm surges this weekend will cause more flooding like there was recently.
“We are doing what we can to ensure that doesn’t happen again.”
In the event the mouth is opened, the on-going environmental effect will be assessed and a decision on whether or not a retrospective consent is needed under Section 330A will then be made.
At this stage there is no civil defence emergency but the situation will continue to be monitored. A riverbed alert has been issued for the Ashburton to Waiau area and people are advised to stay clear of the beds of these rivers over the weekend.