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Rain has worsened flooding on a Canterbury farm where a river has forked along a fault line, cutting through the property and threatening four houses.
Paget Milsom has a digger working fulltime trying to reverse the river's flow, but says he needs more heavy machinery to help him counteract the 1.5m drop ripped open by the earthquake.
After 10 days of digging, the Hororata River has reverted to flowing steadily down its original course.
But yesterday, after overnight rain, the river once again flowed rapidly through a newly formed path over a valuable ryegrass paddock.
"For Canterbury, it wasn't even heavy rain. It was just a drizzle," said Mr Milsom's wife, Stella. "We haven't fixed it; a relatively small amount of rain sets it off again."
Neighbours' sheds have been flooded, and the new stream cuts close to grain silos, woolsheds and four houses. The Milsom's 15-year-old dog, Jessie, has been displaced from his submerged kennel.
Mr Milsom said he felt he was at a loss trying to fight a river on his own.
"There are four houses at risk, and why is there only one person trying to defeat the flood?" he asked. "I can see if it was a chronic issue, but it's an acute issue. The houses are built on high spots. Nature is altering the whole existing riverway, and it's led to a completely new river being developed."
Some people have offered to help, but what he really needed was more diggers.
"People want to come and help, but I have to ask, 'Do you have a big shovel?' This is a serious event we're talking about."
So far the regional council had offered him a list of contractors he could contact, and his neighbours had hardly made a contribution, he said.
He did not want to say anything negative - it was just that he could use a hand. "Nobody's taking an interest. It's an acute depression of the land."
The family have sold off more than 250 tonnes of grain in storage just metres from the flooding. Cows have been moved to previously grazed paddocks. Up to 4000cu m of dirt - 1m deep along 800m - have been removed from the original river and built up along its side.
"With this amount of water, there was no use in building stop banks. We just had to dig," Mr Milsom said.
The Hororata had been lowered enough to start flowing along its original course again, but with rain worsening the situation, Mr Milsom said he could not be sure what the best solution to the extraordinary situation was.
"I do wonder if it's been worth trying to put the whole thing back, and whether there could have been a better option, but nobody really knows. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event," he said.
Just after the earthquake, the water had surrounded Mr Milsom's house, and he was about to evacuate his family.
Environment Canterbury said it had staff in the area who maintained drainage and it was possible they could help out if they became available.