By Timothy Brown

As the floodwater that burst out of the Taieri River and into her backyard sat stagnant for the fifth day, the enormity of the task ahead hit Emma McGregor.

She, her husband, Hamish, and their six dogs escaped the rising torrent using a boat with an outboard motor on Saturday morning as the water touched the doorstep of their elevated Henley home.

The couple finally returned to their house on Monday to find the carpet sodden, but the building otherwise undamaged.


The power of the floodwaters was obvious as a chest freezer, kept under an outdoor sleepout, had been washed about 100m on to the far side of a neighbouring paddock.

McGregor said the greatest difficulty now was seeing the waters across the bridge beginning to subside, while her Riverbank Rd property was still inundated.

''I'm over it today,'' she said.

''It hasn't been too bad until today.

''I thought the water would have started to go down and I could start cleaning today, but it hasn't.

''I'm angry that the water won't go down.

''I don't know where this is meant to go.''

More bad weather is expected in the south today. The MetService forecast for Dunedin predicts occasional rain, falling as snow above 400m and lowering to 300m by evening, a cold southerly and a top temperature of 8C.


The extent of the damage and cost to the couple would only become clear once the water subsided.

The couple, who have two children, bought the house last year.

''It's still going to be our home,'' McGregor said.

''Once it's cleaned up it shouldn't happen for another 20 years - here's hoping.''

In Henley Rd, Allan Innes, whose property was flooded by a ''couple of inches'' of water, was philosophical about the extent of the torrent.

''We are better than some,'' he said.

''We got water inside, which I have never seen before.

''It's just a pain.''

He assessed the damage as ''just a big, sloppy great mess''.

''I feel for the guys that have been up to their waists in it,'' he said.

Some residents were angry with authorities and what they saw was a lack of communication.

''Why aren't there more feet on the ground rather than just flying over in helicopters?'' a resident, who did not wish to be identified, asked.

Contractors worked to open access to the settlement yesterday and Dunedin City Council staff had visited the area, council recovery manager Simon Pickford said.

Anyone with concerns could contact the council on (03) 477-4000.