Roxburgh starts recovery after weekend flash floods

The entire town of Roxburgh is coming together for the cleanup, after flash floods caused widespread destruction on Sunday. 

Yesterday's flooding lasted only a few hours, but the heavy downpour turned waterways into torrents, with 42mm falling within a few hours. 

Central Otago mayor Tim Cadogan wasn't sugar-coating the situation.  

"We've got a hell of a mess to clean up, we've got a big cost, we've got a lot of inconvenience and some people's houses have been really badly affected."

Debris, including entire trees and large rocks, surged down Reservoir Creek, which is normally a calm flood protection culvert.

Mr Cadogan says the rocks caused some of the worst flooding. 

"So, not only did we have the heavy rain coming down... the rain brought rock with it, the rock filled up the reservoir and the rain had nowhere to go, but through Roxburgh and some of the houses in Roxburgh."

Some locals consider themselves lucky to have escaped with just property damage. Roxburgh resident Ian Davis watched as fences and half his garden were washed away.

"I think I'm quite lucky," he said. "It was just within millimetres of coming in our back door. 

"So the house upstairs is good, but the section's a real mess."

Flooding took out pipes for the town's water supply, completely draining the reservoir, and leaving residents reliant on water bottles and tankers. 

Roxburgh resident Raewyn Baguley was glad the weather at least turned hot for today.

"No toilet, no running water," she said. "Got a bit of hot water, obviously, so that'll be really nice when the water comes on. 

"Plenty of it everywhere else, but not in the taps."

Schools were closed, as students and teachers alike pitched in to help with clearing mud and debris. 

Roading contractors are preparing for weeks of repair work, while many residents face days without running water.

And the ordeal may not yet be over, with forecasts of further thunderstorms on Monday.