Watch out for rising river and lake levels when camping this summer

If you’re heading off camping to the southern lakes and rivers, keep up-to-date with weather conditions, especially if you’re choosing a spot close to water.

With recent heavy rain and flooding events across Canterbury, campers should be hyper-vigilant of the high river and lake levels, and also take note of spilling from hydro dams.

Our duty flood controller, Chris Fauth, advises that campers and holidaymakers need to be particularly careful of the impact of rain in the headwaters of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana in December and January, as some river and lake levels are already higher than usual. More rain could result in rapid rises in waterways.

"It may be a beautiful day in the Waitaki Valley, or out boating on the Rangitata River, yet it could be pouring with rain back in the mountains."

"This water has to go somewhere and it may take several days to flow down to downstream waterways. That’s why checking the weather forecast regularly is important. We want people to enjoy their summer and to stay safe," he said.

Check before you go

If you are planning to visit lakes and rivers, or camp nearby, check the latest weather forecast before heading out.  You can also check our website for flood warnings, and monitor rainfall data and river flow data at

Genesis and Meridian Energy issue warnings when they are releasing water and you can also visit their websites to check.