The Department of Conservation is seeking feedback on a decision to ‘approve in principle’ an application from Westpower Ltd to construct and operate a hydro electric power scheme on the Waitaha River near Hari Hari on the West Coast of the South Island.
The proposal would be for a term of 49 years and would be subject to a number of special conditions.
This is not the final decision to grant the concession.
The proposal is being publicly notified under s49 of the Conservation Act 1987. Once the public notification process has been completed and submissions taken into account, the final decision will be made.
The hydro scheme proposal is a run-of-river scheme. No instream storage (dam) is required for such a scheme. A weir and diversion structure would be constructed at the upstream end of Morgan Gorge.
A 2 km access road and associated infrastructure (powerhouse, tunnel) would also be constructed as part of the proposal.
If the scheme were approved and constructed, the river flow would be largely diverted into the power scheme tunnel at the head of Morgan Gorge. The water would be returned to the river 2.6 km downstream, below the proposed powerhouse.
DOC’s Notified Concession Officer’s Report to Decision Maker provides an in depth analysis of the effects