Residents warned about dam
Dozens of Seddon residents have been told that if the Haldon dam breaches they will get 90 minutes' warning before their properties could be flooded.
Marlborough District Council assets and services manager Mark Wheeler said that in a worst-case scenario 44 properties in Seddon could be affected if floodwater flowed into Starborough Creek.
The dam, in Starborough Creek, is about 15 kilometres out of Seddon and is owned by Seddon farmer Dick Bell. He was advised to lower the level after the magnitude 6.5 quake on July 21, but after Friday's magnitude 6.6 quake and subsequent heavy rain, the council sent an engineer to supervise an emergency plan to lower the water level.
A dam engineer overseeing the site also identified more issues with the dam's stability during the process, which was slowed by heavy rain at the weekend.
Nearby residents were warned and emergency services were on standby in Seddon because of the increased risk, Mr Wheeler said.
A warning note was delivered to each household yesterday afternoon informing the occupants of the risk and the possibility they might be asked to leave their homes at short notice.
Emergency services would go door to door evacuating properties if necessary, Mr Wheeler said.
Properties at risk included eight rural properties, 12 houses and up to 24 sections in Seddon township on the southeastern side of Starborough Creek. The engineer said extreme flooding was unlikely but the council decided it was in the public interest to be prepared, Mr Wheeler said.
- The Marlborough Express