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 Fallout From The Barclay Tape

This is hardly a case of cleaning out your desk and being turfed out onto the pavement.

As others have pointed out, the disgraced Clutha-Southland MP will remain on the public payroll for three months until the election, and for three months afterwards. More>>

 

Ombudsman: Canterbury Schools Reorganisation Mishandled

An investigation into the Canterbury schools reorganisation after the February 2011 earthquakes has found significant gaps and flaws in the Ministry’s engagement and communications with schools and communities. More>>

ALSO:

Law Commission: Contempt Report "Protects Right To Fair Trial"

The proposed Act limits what news media representatives and bloggers can report on court proceedings, but it also makes clearer than the current law where the line is between contempt and freedom of expression. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Our Refugee Intake (And Uber’s Woes)

On figures released this week, there are currently 65.6 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes by war, famine or other external causes… More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Report: GCSB Support For Groser WTO Bid Not Illegal

“The inquiry has found that the GCSB did not act unlawfully or improperly in providing assistance to the New Zealand government campaign”, Ms Gwyn said. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Pike And Houses

There were questions on Pike River mine re-entry after new video from inside the drift was released over the weekend. English maintained a human effort would not be feasible irrespective of any future coalition demands from NZ First. He said the government would continue to work with families on non-manned re-entry. More>>

ALSO:

Flogging A Dead Horse: NZ First Seeks New s59 Referendum

10 years on from the so called “anti-smacking” law - NZ First calls for a binding referendum. NZ First MP Tracey Martin told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that the law change has had a “chilling effect” on NZ parents including herself. More>>

ALSO:

Always Interesting: Internet Party Has New Leader

The Internet Party has a new leader: Suzie Dawson... She currently resides in Moscow, Russia, where she has applied for temporary asylum due to severe persecution she reports being subjected to by those whose corruption she worked to expose.More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog
More RSS News Alerts