Flood: still on alert

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Sandbags are being emptied but not removed altogether as Queenstown’s swollen Lake Wakatipu remains above the first flood warning level.

Queenstown Lakes District Council staff and volunteers relocated sandbags on Saturday. Some were emptied but the sand is being stored at two stations near the Memorial Gate on the lakefront and Beach Street in case sandbags need to be refilled.

The lake is currently sitting at 310.987 but QLDC communications boss Meaghan Miller says waters will have to drop below 310.8 – the first flood level warning – before concrete pipes on the foreshore and the sandbag stations are removed altogether.

Miller says it’s up to business owners whether they clear flood barriers from store fronts but cautions the lake is still very full: “We are still in a state of preparedness until the lake level drops. This morning we did send a note to retailers [in the CBD] letting them know where we are at in the clean-up…and we will keep them advised as to when we can get the town absolutely back to normal.”

The lake, receding around 6cm a day, should be below flood warning levels by Thursday but more rain is forecast and Miller says things will be reassessed later this week.

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