Prone businesses now flood aware

SHARE

Wanaka businesses have responded well to a flood awareness campaign, Otago Emergency Management Officer for Queenstown Lakes Trevor Andrews says.
Businesses located close to the lake were visited by representatives from Emergency Management Otago (EMO) recently.
The team was able to refine its information database and update contact details for text alerts, Mr Andrews said.
Although businesses were fairly stable in Wanaka, staff turnover meant updating contact details each year was important.
There had been five significant floods in Wanaka, beginning in 1878. The average level of Lake Wanaka was about 277.3m above sea level, and floods over 280m had occurred in 1878, 1919, 1984, 1995 and 1999.
Another flood was likely at some point, Mr Andrews said.
‘‘It has happened before, it will happen again.’’
It was hard to know what difference climate change might make in the future, but there were fluctuations from very dry to very wet.
‘‘It is hard to know Mother Nature.
‘‘We live in an alpine environment, these are alpine lakes.’’
The alpine environment meant there were ‘‘huge catchments’’ where snow melts or warm rain caused challenges.
This time of year had been historically ‘‘the most dangerous or destructive periods’’.
The trigger level was about 279m above sea level which would prompt EMO to send an emergency alert including text and email messages.
This would warn businesses that the level was getting high, and would ask that they check their business interruption and disaster recovery planning was in place, Mr Andrews said.
The water level could ‘‘change within a couple of days, it is a pretty dynamic environment we live in’’.