A campervan crosses the Silverstream ford after leaving the Whare Flat Folk Festival at the Waiora Scout Camp, North Taieri, on Saturday. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Some South Island residents are waking up to contaminated water supplies and “overwhelmed” wastewater systems – meaning no toilet flushing – after a night of heavy rain.
And there’s more to come today.
Thunderstorms in parts of the lower South Island sparked flooding and slips that closed state highways and caused havoc for holidaymakers.
Sandbag stations were opened in Dunedin and Queenstown collected almost 8mm of rain.
Just after 6am authorities issued a new warning for the Otago area.
“The heavy rain continuing through the night may have caused the wastewater system to be overwhelmed in places and there may be overflows onto roads,” said the Dunedin City Council.
“People should stay out of any floodwaters and treat them as contaminated.”
Two hundred people are stranded after the rising water of Silverstream cut off the Whare Flat Folk Festival, northwest of Dunedin yesterday.
Festival organiser Kathryn Olcott said that the ford in Silverstream Valley Rd is closed and festival-goers at the site would be unable to leave until this morning.
She could not say exactly how many people remained at the festival.
Some festival-goers managed to get out before the ford was closed shortly after mid-day today.
The festival’s final night of performances would go ahead today, she said.
Don’t flush toilets
Overnight residents in Middlemarch were advised not to flush their toilets and avoid drinking water from bores as it was likely to be contaminated.
The Dunedin City Council advised earlier this morning that residents and visitors to the area should take care.
“With the inclement weather the wastewater system has been overwhelmed and we would ask that you refrain from flushing your toilet until further notice,” a notice said.
“Extensive flooding and wastewater surcharges have affected Middlemarch and residents are being advised not to drink water from bores unless they treat the water with a filter or similar as it is likely to be contaminated.”
Water will be available from a tanker beside the Strath-Taieri Community Centre from approximately midday today and people were advised to bring clean containers to fill.
“Sandbags will also be available at this location,” said a council spokesperson.
“The overflows are contained on roads, but people should stay out of floodwaters in these areas and treat them as contaminated.”
People in the southern area were also being told to “avoid travel on the roads unless absolutely necessary.”