Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Otago Regional Council to activate flood alert system

December 3, 2012

ORC to activate improved flood alert system

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) is converting to a more efficient and effective system of alerting the public to predicted or actual flooding in the Otago region.

ORC director of environmental engineering and natural hazards Gavin Palmer said the council was transitioning towards using social networking device Twitter to send alerts to cellphones, and away from telephone ring lists.

Dr Palmer said this would allow anyone wanting to get the alerts to do so simply by subscribing to the service through Twitter. The Twitter alert sent by ORC would notify the recipient, that in the council’s opinion, conditions could lead to flooding. The alerts would direct the users to the ORC website (www.orc.govt.nz) to find out more detailed information on potential flood events.

Under the new system, flood information could be sent out more efficiently and effectively to a wider group of people than previously, Dr Palmer said.

There will be two types of notifications “watches” (high river or lake level is possible within the next 36 hours) and “warnings” (high river or lake level is likely or certain within the next 36 hours).

Dr Palmer said 36 hours was considered sufficient to give people time to prepare and respond to the flood, whilst keeping the forecast period as short as possible.

ORC flood managers currently telephone people individually based on predefined triggers (river levels or flows at indicator sites). ORC has 24 ring lists with a total of 430 contacts. The Twitter alerts and ring lists will operate alongside one another in the meantime, until the new system is proven to meet ORC and community service requirements.

“Contacting the people on the ring lists is time-consuming,” Dr Palmer said. “The lists do not provide complete coverage of flood-prone areas in Otago, or some of the areas that have the highest flood risk.”

“Moving to a Twitter-based alert system will free up our staff to assess, forecast, monitor, and respond to flood situations; and release clear, concise, and timely information.”

Dr Palmer noted that several regional councils in NZ had either done away with ring lists, or were in the process of doing so. The Canterbury earthquakes and the grounding of the Rena container ship off Tauranga had highlighted how social media could connect people to resources, vital information, and each other.

In the case of Otago floods, the Twitter alert would act like a pager notification. Once people subscribed to the service, which was free, they would automatically receive flood alert notifications until they unsubscribed from the service. They did not need to subscribe every time there was a flood, and could unsubscribe whenever they wanted to.

Users of ORC’s website could also choose to connect to the WaterInfo website (for detailed, real-time hydrological data, the Otago Natural Hazards Database, and the Otago Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group website (for advice on how to prepare, respond and recover from floods), Dr Palmer said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Northland By-Election

Supposedly, Winston Peters’ victory in Northland has exposed the simmering dissatisfaction with the government that exists out in the provinces. Yet it remains to be seen whether this defeat will have much significance – and not simply because if and when Labour resumes business as usual in the Northland seat at the next election, Peters’ hold on it could simply evaporate.

On Saturday, National’s electorate vote declined by 7,000 votes, as the 9,000 majority it won last September turned into a 4,000 vote deficit – mainly because Labour supporters followed the nod and wink given by Labour leader Andrew Little, and voted tactically for Peters. In the process, Labour’s vote went down from nearly 9,000 votes six months ago, to only 1,315 on Saturday. More>>

 
 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Climate: Ministers Exclude Emissions From ‘Environment Reporting'

The National Party Government has today revealed that the national environmental report topics for this year will, incredibly, exclude New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

No Retrial: Freedom At Last For Teina Pora

The Māori Party is relieved that the Privy Council has cleared the final legal hurdle for Teina Pora who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to prison for 22 years. More>>

ALSO:

Germanwings Crash: Privacy Act Supports Aviation Safeguards In New Zealand

Reports that German privacy laws may have contributed to the Germanwings air crash have prompted New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner to reassure the public that the Privacy Act is no impediment to medical practitioners notifying appropriate authorities to a pilot’s health concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Taranaki Iwi Ngāruahine Settles Treaty Claims For $67.5mln

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news