Dam on Kaituna River, Bay of Plenty

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According to Bay of Plenty Electricity public consultation with affected parties has started for a proposed 7 m high dam which is going to be built half way down the Awesome Gorge section of the Kaituna River near Rotorua. Water is then diverted in a canal on the right bank for about 2.5 km until it drops 66 metres down a pipe into the power station where generators create some 15 to max. 20 MW.

It effectively means that the Kaituna River will be backed up to the so called Trout Pool Falls. Below the proposed weir only a marginal residual flow of around 5 cumes (average flow down the river during the year is 26 cumes) will be allowed, making the WW section below the weir unpaddleable. The "dry section" will affect the second half of Awesome Gorge (the tight gorge section with the waterfall) and the extremely difficult "Gnarly Gorge" which follows right after the Awesome Gorge take-out. Although "Gnarly Gorge" is rarely paddled it has been negotiated several times in the last couple of years by groups of up to 8 people and this section of the Kaituna River is undoubtedly the most scenic and extreme whitewater trip in the North Island, if not in New Zealand!

Bay of Plenty Electricity is planning to hand in their Resource Consent application as early as January 2005 (and as late as July 05). If you would like to be registered with BoP Electricity as an affected party who wants to be registered with them in order to get formal notification of the resource consent, please contact their Generation Manager:
John Smyth
Generation Manager
52 Commerce St.
PO Box 404
Whakatane 3080
Ph 0800 500 710 or 07-922 2700
Fax 07-307 0922
DDI 07-922 2709
Mobile 027-459 1757
email jsmyth@bopelec.co.nz

It is to be emphasised that this section of the Kaituna River is under very real and serious threat and anyone who would like to raise their concerns against this dam project is urged to get in touch with BoP Electricity.