With wet weather hammering much of the country over the next week, regional councils are putting their flood prevention plans into action.

The Horizons Regional Council - responsible for Whanganui, Manawatū and Rangitikei -had the largest network of water monitoring stations in New Zealand, 180 in total.

One of the most important of those was in Palmerston North, a water control tower that was the gatekeeper of Manawatū river information.

It would help Horizons Regional Council give regular and accurate updates to residents at risk of flooding.


Horizons environmental data technician Micah Dodge formed part of the hydro team keeping a close eye on the region's weather forecast and its monitoring stations.

"The current weather system that we've had going through there's been a lot of heavy rain...but with it being so dry before this, there is a lot of room for that to soak in which is nice," Dodge said.

In times of potential floods, they would use the data from the water tower to make calculated decisions around a plan of action for the residents living downstream.

Dodge said the tower worked by having pipes that run from the river into the tower where instruments sent live updates back to the office, which could then go to the website.

"In high flow events and in flood events like 2004, what we do here is measure the real time levels," Dodge said.

"From there it gives us an idea on whether or not we're going to need to send people down to places like Moutoa, to control the gates.

"And then on site those people can make the decision on whether or not they need to open those gates which is going to ease the pressure down stream.

"When those gates are open it diverts flow through a floodway and takes a big section of that river out of play for the higher end of the peak and moves it very quickly out to the coast."


It's a flood action plan that reduces risk to farmers and residents beyond the flood gates.

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