23 Nov 2011

Farmers tally stock losses from Grey River flash flood

7:20 am on 23 November 2011

Heavy stock losses are being reported in the Grey River valley after farmers there were hit by a flash flood on Monday.

Federated Farmers' West Coast president Katie Milne flew over the valley on Tuesday to assess the damage and says while the waters have receded, it was clear how high the river had risen.

She says she saw some fence damage and evidence the river bed has moved in places.

Ms Milne says she is getting phone messages from farmers who have now had an opportunity to look around their properties.

Some are reporting severe damage to their land and some are reporting heavy stock losses.

One sheep and beef farmer told her he had lost big numbers of stock that had been grazing on the flats.

Ms Milne says she's spoken to some farmers aged in their sixties who have told her they have never seen the creeks and rivers peak so high.

Meanwhile, farmers in the north Westland and Buller areas are bracing themselves for further heavy rain forecast by MetService for Wednesday.

Katie Milne says farmers are naturally apprehensive about the heavy rain warnings but says Monday's rains will have taken all the snow off the mountains in a 10, 20 or 100 year event and any other flooding the region gets is likely to be "moderate to normal".

Council assesses damage

The Grey District Council says it will have a better idea later this week of how much damage was caused by Monday's flooding.

It says several homes in Kaiata and Totara Flat have been flooded, there are slips in the Rotomanu area and road washouts around Haupiri.

Council civil defence emergency manager Allan Wilson says the middle span of the Waikiti Bridge has been wiped out and repairs are expected to cost somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000.

Mr Wilson says once damage to railway lines and regional council assets such as stopbanks is included, the overall cost is likely to be several million dollars.