saving the Gowan

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Could you all PLEASE start the ball rolling with some letters to the editor. Preferably to the Nelson Mail as they don't seem inclined to do an article! We need to bring this to peoples attention. Many thanks

Anonymous's picture

http://tiki.knowledge-basket.co.nz/newzagent/inlfast/text/docs/NEM070807...

check the above link for story, bid to set up hydro dam stopped by Environment Court.

makka's picture

You mention in your saving ideas low energy lighting. Couple of years ago I replaced all the bulbs in my house with flourescent bulbs and it's been excellent. Power usage went down (15W versus original 75W per bulb) and bulbs last a hell of a lot longer (none dead yet and they're rated for at least 6 years life). The cool thing is even if you rent your place you can use this energy saving solution. Swap all the existing bulbs for energy efficient ones, put the original ones back in when you move and take your energy efficient ones with you to your next place.

mr.b's picture

Comalco is a big energy and has been since it started, but that southern area has a lot of energy to export, although it could be used inside NZ. Many other contributing factors to the increase in enrgy consumption. Shops being allowed to be open 24 hrs, TV running till forever, shopping on Sunday, The list of changes goes on . The estimates say that 5-8% just for the internet and home PC's. I can't see us stopping that.
Nuclear, not so good for NZ. We would have to import the enregy for a start. Changing from an exporter to an importer has many problems as far as the economy is concerned.
It all comes down to effiency first. It worked in California. Some 80% of NZ homes don't meet the building code for insulation. Mainly due to changes in the standard. The house I live in for instance has no insulation in the walls or under the floor. I know the ceiling has, I put it there and the difference was instantly noticable. (If I ownned the place I would do a lot more). Clean, green and has huge health benifits as well.
Next the big yellow, solar hot water as at the NZ Kayak school, just ask Mick.
We the people can do a lot more.

chris.a's picture

I always get my @!#$ kicked for this answer. But IMHO Nuclear is not a bad option. Only problem with it is it is BLOODY expensive.
But, for a clean green country like ours it is ideal.

Minimal emissions (Coal/Gas to some degree), just Nuke waste which is pretty manageable or at the very least exportable. Minimal visual polution (wind farms), no damming rivers (hydro), small in size (solar), reliable (all of the above save for Coal/Gas).

The other good thing we could do is stop selling Comalco electricity at below market rates. Comalco is basically just an electricity exporting mechanism. Ship the bauxite in, use the cheap power, ship the bauxite out. Export electricity.

mr.b's picture

Wind farms are great but they too have their problems, eg windflow's turbine falling to bits on Gebbies Pass. However the clever Germans have produced some new turbine designs that will make higher effiency generators. Other more simple things can be done. Insulation of houses, low energy lighting, solar heating and the like can help alot. Perhaps the government needs to promote alternative power/energy.

rex's picture

John wrote:

> Hey, dont want to stir things up too much, but how often do
> people run the Gowan anyway? I agree , it is a good run but I

It's not often run because it has the reputation of being full of trees.
This is an education issue, not a fault of the river itself. I'd personally
put it on par with the Mangles w.r.t. enjoyability.

> have never seen any kayakers on it. Perhaps we should look at
> where the power is coming from next time we turn on the light.

The Sun?

> If Solid Energy had there way, (and quite possibly they
> will), we are going to see some new coal fired power stations
> spring up around the country. Believe it or not, this option
> is one of the cheapest, yet most environmentally damaging
> options being proposed.

Sure, it pumps lots of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the coal mines are
not much to look at. The Kyoto accord doesn't look very favourably
at it either.

> This seems a pretty sad thing considering the huge amount of
> rivers that New Zealand has, a totally polution free,
> renewable energy resource. Surely we can find some way to
> make the most of this opportunity, without compromising too
> much.

Unfortunately the very same things that make a river fun (flow & gradient)
are the same that are good for power generation. There will always be
a conflict of interest.

> Personally, I would rather see the Buller river system remain
> unmodified in any way, but I can also see the benefit in a
> small low impact scheme such as the proposed Gowan scheme. As

Have you looked at what they are proposing? It's not pretty either.
A whacking great big pipe that a major component of the river is diverted
through. This means diggers, trucks, and in the end, a horrible pipe
running through some very pretty land.

> long as there can be some continued flow agreement, we will
> still be able to run the river.

Not so. They seek to exclude kayakers from the flow agreements.

> Perhaps however this may just be the proverbial, "tip of the
> iceberg", but I do think that we also have to bear in mind
> our rapidly increasing demand for energy, and figure out some
> sensible solutions.
>
> Hopefully we dont have to go back to burning coal.
>
> Are we being a bit selfish, wishing to claim such rivers for
> the occasional time that we utilise them? Difficult question
> really.

I'm not claiming the river for myself. I'm claiming for future generations.

Rex

pete0's picture

I am certainly not an engineer of any sort but why can't we look seriously at other forms of energy production such as wind farms similar to the the one in the Manawatu to work in tandom with our already built Hydro stations.

Just my thoughts

john15's picture

Hey, dont want to stir things up too much, but how often do people run the Gowan anyway? I agree , it is a good run but I have never seen any kayakers on it. Perhaps we should look at where the power is coming from next time we turn on the light.

If Solid Energy had there way, (and quite possibly they will), we are going to see some new coal fired power stations spring up around the country. Believe it or not, this option is one of the cheapest, yet most environmentally damaging options being proposed.

This seems a pretty sad thing considering the huge amount of rivers that New Zealand has, a totally polution free, renewable energy resource. Surely we can find some way to make the most of this opportunity, without compromising too much.

Personally, I would rather see the Buller river system remain unmodified in any way, but I can also see the benefit in a small low impact scheme such as the proposed Gowan scheme. As long as there can be some continued flow agreement, we will still be able to run the river.

Perhaps however this may just be the proverbial, "tip of the iceberg", but I do think that we also have to bear in mind our rapidly increasing demand for energy, and figure out some sensible solutions.

Hopefully we dont have to go back to burning coal.

Are we being a bit selfish, wishing to claim such rivers for the occasional time that we utilise them? Difficult question really.

What do you think?
Pete wrote:
>
> I was with Rex on the run he mentions. It was my first time
> down it and was keen because of the news of there being a dam
> plonked on it. I have to agree with Rex that it would be a
> tragedy for it to be lost.
> Although not exhilerating in terms of big rapids the fact
> that it was a continous gradient made for a hugely fun
> paddle!!!! I would recommend it but, although the rapids are
> not big, the amount of tree sieves and consequences for wrong
> channels taken it is certainly not a beginners river.
>
> This river is worth saving.

pete0's picture

I was with Rex on the run he mentions. It was my first time down it and was keen because of the news of there being a dam plonked on it. I have to agree with Rex that it would be a tragedy for it to be lost.
Although not exhilerating in terms of big rapids the fact that it was a continous gradient made for a hugely fun paddle!!!! I would recommend it but, although the rapids are not big, the amount of tree sieves and consequences for wrong channels taken it is certainly not a beginners river.

This river is worth saving.

andy3's picture

A bit of a win and a loss for the NZRCA's submission. The NZRCA tried to widen the scope to include other tributary rivers in the Conservation Order. However, this is not going to be allowed. The win involved the Majac trust trying to have only rafting considerations (and not kayaking, fishing, aesthetics etc) included in the decision making process. However it was decided that the full range of considerations on the impact on the Gowan would be included. I am not too certain what the next step of the process is however.

rex's picture

What's up with this?

I've been told that the plans no longer involve kayakers & they want to take up to 80% of the flow. Additionally, NZRCA's submission has been disallowed.

I've taken a second group down the Gowan, this time at higher flows. I must say that the loss of this run would be a tragedy, as at higher flows it is rather
a lot of fun.

Anyone wanting a few hints as to which channel to take, remember that if it's
not obvious, the second channel from the right is the one you want.
Near the end there is a tree across the river. It's easily ducked under but if you want to avoid it there is a miniscule channel down the left.
Don't paddle it really big & brown, you won't have time to catch the right
channels without warning, and don't take beginners down. If they can't roll
reliably in rapids and manouvre around the river, they shouldn't be there.

Cheers, Rex

maree's picture

Hi - the below information is being emailed out to all on the NZRCA's email/announce list, and extras. Further information will follow this week.

"An application has been made by Majac Trust to vary the Buller Water
Conservation Order, to allow for a run of the river power scheme to be
constructed on the Gowan River.>

The Buller WCO was won by Fish and Game, DoC, NZRCA, Maruia Society and
other parties, in order to safeguard for future generations the natural
flows of the Buller and its (designated) tributaries, in recognition of its
status as a nationally outstanding river for its kayaking, rafting, fishery,
and habitat for other indigenous species.
>
The Gowan is one of the important tributaries of the Buller River. It's
consistent, lake-fed fast flowing water is unique in this catchment and NZ.
The river can be paddled from its source in Lake Rotorua, is a beautiful
trip, and plays and integral part of any source to sea journey down the
Buller. The Gowan is a major tributary to the Buller catchment which is one
of the few remaining, largely unmodified, large river catchments in NZ.
Other catchments of a similar size such as the Clutha, and the Waikato, are
now very modified.
>
If the application is successful and the Order varied, Majac Trust will
still have to apply for resource consents, which will involve a second
chance for public submissions and participation also. The proposed scheme
is a run of river scheme.
which involves extraction of up to 2/3rds of the flow from the Gowan, use of
the water to generate power, and then release back into the Gowan. The
applicants are suggesting a phone system be set up where by rafters (and
hopefully kayakers) can dial an automatic service if they are planning a
trip on the Gowan, and the automatic system will ensure that the natural
flow is returned to the river for several hours to allow the trip to take
place.

Submissions on the application to change the Order are due in by the 17th.
The NZRCA will be lodging a submission, objecting to the changes.

If you would like to lodge a submission also, and would like more
information, please check www.mfe.govt.nz, and search for "Gowan" and you
will find more information, and submission forms. You can also email Maree
Baker directly at Maree.Baker@paradise.net.nz with any questions (South
Island Conservation Officer). Maree will also be emailing out a draft
submission form for you to cut and paste into your own submission later this
week. If you would like to be on the mailing list for this, please let her
know."