Lake Ellesmere opened to the sea after deluge threatened homes

Source: 1News

Residents of a flood-prone settlement along the Selwyn River can breathe a little easier after Lake Ellesmere was opened to the sea.

The massive body of water, covering nearly 200 square kilometres, had built up to a dangerously high level after the floods.

It had threatened to overrun its banks and wipe out those living nearby. 

This was thanks to a deluge of water finding its way down from the mountains into the confines of the lake. 

The news Lake Ellesmere had been opened today was met with joy.

"Oh that's fantastic," lower Selwyn Huts owner Scott Pearcy said.

"Thankfully we've been safe. It's a good feeling."

Environment Canterbury rivers manager Leigh Griffiths told 1 NEWS the water level would drop over the next few days.