Conservation

Preservation of whitewater, threats to recreational amenity, wild and scenic rivers.

How to build a world class play-wave

Tony Ward-Holmes provides a history lesson on the creation of the Hawea playwave. A slightly different version was originally published in NZ Canoeing 13.1, p8-10.

Building a play-wave seems easy at first thought. You need some water for a start, and some gradient to make that water flow. To shape a wave you need a ramp or a constriction to speed up the water, preferably both. An eddy or two are needed too… a one-shot wave isn’t much use… and Bob’s your uncle, right?

RMA reforms serious concern to kayakers

"Proposed RMA reforms are of serious concern to kayakers and any other person that relaxes and recreates in the outdoors. The government's proposed reforms for the Resource Management Act and freshwater management pose a real threat to water-based recreation," says Whitewater NZ President Matthew Bennett in a media statement released yesterday. "They put at risk New Zealanders' values and quality of life."

The discussion document "Improving our resource management system" (PDF, 4.4MB) proposes to remove clauses protecting recreational amenity and add new requirements to provide for "renewable energy" and "provision of infrastructure."

Hawea Whitewater Enhancement Project nears completion

[Updated: 13 December] On Thursday 29 November, some Otago kayakers enjoyed test flows on the Scott Shipley-designed course on the Hawea River. Several more weeks of commissioning work are anticipated. The Hawea Whitewater Enhancement Project is an outcome of the negotiations around Contact Energy's resource consents as mitigation for the loss of recreational amenity resulting from the Clyde dam, and in particular the drowning of rapids at Bannockburn, Cromwell Gap and the world-class Sargood's Weir.

Westpower reactivates Waitaha hydro scheme

Counter to the trend of recent cancellations of hydro projects, Westpower has reactivated plans to develop hydro on the Waitaha River. The scheme was first announced in 2007. WestPower is holding public information days: 3.30 - 7.30pm, Tuesday 12th June, Harihari Motor Inn, Main Road, Harihari. 3.30 - 7.30pm, Wednesday 13th June, St John Station, 134 Stafford Street, Hokitika.

PCE report: Hydroelectricity or wild rivers?

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr. Jan Wright has issued a report "Hydroelectricity or wild rivers? Climate change versus natural heritage" (PDF, 5MB) highlighting the weaknesses of the current options for preserving wild and scenic rivers. The report criticises the recent National Policy Statements for Renewable Electricity Generation and Freshwater Management: "Where the two NPSs may have counterbalanced each other, instead they favour developing hydroelectricity. The NPS on Renewable Electricity Generation does not sufficiently recognise the irreversible damage of some renewable electricity proposals. And the NPS on Freshwater Management does not explicitly recognise the value of preserving wild and scenic rivers" (p68).