Current works

Fairway spraying in the Otaio and Pareora rivers

22 November 2022

WHAT: Ground-based spraying for targeted weed control.

WHEN: Starting in December, as weather permits.

We have started our annual targeted weed control programme using ground-based spraying.

We will be surveying the fairways of the Otaio and Pareora rivers to identify locations that require weed control and then spraying targeted weeds species (willows, alder, poplar, gorse, broom, and lupins) in the Otaio River and poplar trees in the Pareora River.

Signage indicating that spraying is occurring will be placed at all refilling spray operation areas and at public access points on the river where spraying is occurring.


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View map for Otaio River works.

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View map for Pareora River works.

General rivers operations update

6 June 2021
  • Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere remains open to the sea today, Sunday 6 June. The cut has naturally developed to 45m and there is a rough sea. A digger is working to help develop the cut further. The lake level is starting to drop but there may not be a dramatic drop until the cut scours wider.
  • There are now 14 active river work sites in Ashburton. Contractors are being supervised in the field by teams of Environment Canterbury staff and river engineers from other regional councils.
  • At the Orari River, water has now been pushed away from two break out areas, and the sites are being strengthened by machinery today. There is machinery at the third break out site now doing the same.
  • River levels may rise by small amounts, but we do not expect any out-of-river flooding. 
  • We will continue to monitor rainfall and river levels closely, and we have response teams on standby in case they are needed.

Canterbury flood response works

Starting 4 June 2021

Environment Canterbury staff and contractors are in the field assessing flood damage and responding to priority issues in the wake of last week’s rainfall event.

We are currently assessing significant flood repairs on the Selwyn/Waikirikiri, Ashburton/Hakatere, Hinds/Hekeao, Orari and Waihi Rivers. Ashburton is particularly hard hit so we will have a full time dedicated Senior River Engineer onsite for at least the next week.

Here is a breakdown of some of the priority work currently taking place:

South Canterbury

  • Waihi River: Machinery is working on breakouts above Hawke Road and on re-establishing tracks for access so debris can be removed and the channel realigned around Beeby Road.
  • Orari River: Two dozers will work over the long weekend to complete channel realignment. The banks has been pushed up to stop further overflow to Coopers Creek.
  • Coopers Creek: A contractor will remove a fallen poplar and damaged bridge on a property Further work may be considered here.
  • Halls Stream (Fairlie): Tree removal will occur on 8 June.
  • Fairlie Township Creek: A contractor is on site fixing a scour.


  • Hakatere / Ashburton River: The full list of damage is still being collated geospatially. Work on priority sites on the North and South branches is underway.
  • Hekeao / Hinds River: Staff are in the field assessing priority issues for the Hekeao / Hinds River.


  • Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere opening: Work on opening the cut is progressing well and depending on weather conditions, the lake should be open to the sea this long weekend.
  • Waikirikiri / Selwyn River: Inspections on the south bank are complete, and damage assessment on the north bank is underway. 


  • Okuku River: Flow diversion near Inglis Road is underway.
  • Rakahuri / Ashley River: Training bank repair is underway near Waikuku.
  • Cust / Eyre rivers: Damage assessment is complete.
  • Waimakariri River: The Beach Rd / Pines Beach floodgate has been fixed, and the rock scour repaired. Rock repairs have been completed at a key site on the Lower Waimakariri.

General flood information


Notice on all other works

Please note, the following works may be on hold due to the May-June 2021 flood event.

Waiau township stopbank project

May 2021

What: Works will commence with reconstruction of the existing stopbanks on either side of the Inland Road Bridge (sites 1E and 1W on the map) and will be followed by construction of a 700 m long stopbank from Clarence Street to the Rotherham Road Bridge (site 2).

When: Starting Monday 24 May until about late August.

The Waiau township has been subject to many flood events from both the Mason River and Waiau Uwha. Numerous ad-hoc stopbanks were constructed over the past century, the earliest dating between 1907 and 1922 by the Waiau Riverside Protection Board.

This project will improve the level of flood protection to Waiau township through the remediation and strengthening of two existing stopbanks on Inland Road, and through the construction of a new stopbank which will border the eastern side of the town. It is expected that these works would protect Waiau township from flooding in a 200-year ARI (Average Recurrence Interval) flood event.

Partially funded from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s Provincial Development Unit (PDU) the Waiau township stopbank project increases flood protection and climate change resilience for the Waiau community. Funding from the Climate Resilience Programme of Flood Risk Management Projects has significantly reduced local community cost and helped kick-start projects that would have otherwise taken decades to fund through current rating districts.

Waiau Uwha stopbank repairs and construction

Lower Waitaki flood scheme recovery project

Between May and October 2021
  • WHAT: We are commencing flood protection works to remediate damage in the lower Waitaki River following the extensive flooding of summer 2019/20.
  • WHERE: Twelve sites along the Lower Waitaki River.
  • WHEN: We anticipate the majority of this work will be completed between May and October 2021 but acknowledge that at some sites the work may take longer. We aim to complete all works by February 2022.

Site-specific work plans are available in the attached remediation works summary (PDF file, 5.63MB).

Download the Lower Waitaki River - flood scheme recovery project (PDF File, 1.49MB) factsheet.

Rangitata River/Awa flood scheme recovery project

Starting mid-April until the end of August 2021
  • What: ‘Making it safe’ – short term physical works to address immediate flood risk following the summer 2019 flooding. Works include extensions and construction of stopbanks, construction of gravel groynes and strengthening of rock stub groynes.
  • Where: Five sites along the south bank of the Rangitata/Awa.

Flood flows in December 2019 across the West Coast and Canterbury caused significant flooding of the Rangitata River

This programme of physical works will commence mid-April and is required to address the immediate flood risk to the Rangitata community from damage following the 2019/2020 flooding.

At a construction cost of about $1.3 million, the works are 64 per cent funded by the central government’s Climate Resilience Programme of Flood Risk Management Projects (initiated as part of the Covid-19 recovery response) which is administered by the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in a co-funding arrangement. The remaining 36 per cent of the cost will be co-funded by the Rangitata River Rating District (Environment Canterbury), Waka Kotahi NZTA, Rangitata South Irrigation Limited, Kiwirail, Timaru District Council, Ashburton District Council and Transpower.

Find out more about the work currently done in the Rangitata River/Awa.