Southland Flood Event

Published on Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Southland Rural Support Trust team is active as part of the wider civil defence response to the current flood event. Our focus has been on contacting all farms in the flood affected zones to identify any farming or welfare needs.

This process will be completed by midday Sunday 9th of February.

If you feel you or someone else in need has been missed or needs further support, please contact us on

Ph       0800 787 254


Use the Contact Us tab on this website



Post-flood recovery information for Southland and Otago farmers and growers.

As floodwaters recede and damage becomes clearer, there is recovery help for farmers and growers.


What’s happening the next few days?

A rural needs assessment team of Rural Support Trusts, Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ and CDEM, are contacting all farms in the flood priority zone.


Useful contacts

General information and assistance:


  • Government helpline on 0800 779 997 from 9am-5pm daily, including the weekend.


Federated Farmers’ help on farm:





Meanwhile if you are concerned about someone on-farm, you can contact the Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP).


Animal welfare concerns

-        Contact your veterinarian

-         MPI Animal Welfare 0800 00 83 33,


Industry body recovery information


Food and water safety


  • Throw away food and water that has been contaminated by floodwater.
  • Boil or purify water before using it in food preparation, and to avoid cross-contamination of food.


Dairy farm water safety

-        Boil water for at least one minute to make it safe to drink.

-        For plant cleaning, dairy farms which don’t use water heated above 70degC for plant and silo CIP need to follow instructions from your dairy company or your risk management procedures.

-        Otherwise, MPI recommends that farms use Sodium Hypochlorite (such as Ecolab XY12, FIL Grade Right, or other hypochlorite approved for farm dairies) in the final rinse at 5mls per 100 litres of water with the plant drained after rinsing; the same regime that farmers on water exclusion follow.



  • If you can’t comply with your consent conditions, please call the Environment Southland Compliance team 0800 76 88 45 or ORC on 0800 474 082 to discuss the right short-term management approaches before you take any action. 


Animal welfare (including for lifestyle blocks)

  • Ensure stock and domestic animals have food, water, shelter, and are secure.
  • Ensure that all stock injuries are promptly attended to.
  • Move particularly vulnerable stock to an area which is more accessible for monitoring, supplementary feed or veterinary treatment.


General farm damage and recovery

  • Look for and report broken utility lines. Treat all lines as live.
  • If your property is damaged, take notes and photographs and lodge insurance claims as soon as possible.
  • Assess damage to water supply and reticulation systems. Which troughs are contaminated with silt and will need cleaning?
  • Assess damage to access lanes, tracks, gateways, culverts and fences. What clearing away of flood debris is needed?
  • Assess damage to pastures, the depth and type of silt.
  • Assess available non-flooded pastures and other undamaged feed reserves.
  • Please accept help when offered, and ask for it if you need it.


Road information or call 0800 44 44 49


Stay well


Stress and fatigue are normal post-event. If you are concerned about yourself or someone, talk to your GP, call or text 1737 for free trained counsellors, or call your Rural Support Trust. 


The Southland DHB advises you can talk with Southland Mental Health Emergency Services (SMHET) or Southland Public Hospital Emergency Department (ED) on Kew Road in an emergency.  It is useful to have a support person/advocate with the person to identify any risk issues to SMHET or ED. Ring 0800 467 846 and then select 1 for Southland. 


Post-flood there can be an increase in leptospirosis bacteria in floodwaters and outbreaks in people and animals. It’s transmitted from infected mammals through contact with their urine, or in water contaminated with their urine and enters your body via your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear protective clothing (eyewear, gloves and boots) if you are coming into contact with floodwater and wash your hands well. Contact your GP early if you have flu-like symptoms.  For more information talk to your doctor, veterinarian or refer to Safer Farms:

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