Earlier this week Eastland Group received resource consent from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to carry out works to repair damaged sluice gates at Waihi dam, near Wairoa. Initial work has started on the accessible parts of the damaged gates.
The company’s 5MW hydroelectricity station on the Waihi River has been out of operation since December, following damage to the gates caused by extreme weather in 2015. An abatement notice from HBRC halted repair work due to the silt inflow into the Waiau River. The notice required the gates to be closed but damage to one of the gates is preventing it being fully closed.
Eastland Group chief executive, Matt Todd, said an amphibious excavator was on its way from Extreme Excavators in Whakatane. Suction pumps from Greenfield Diving would also be used.
“Once the build-up of silt and debris is removed from behind the dam, repair work will begin on the gates themselves. We are focussed on getting the gates fully closed and the dam operational as soon as possible.”
Mr Todd said gabion baskets installed downstream from the dam in an effort to mitigate the silt seeping into the Waiau River, were working as well as could be expected to trap sediment before it hit the river.
He urged anyone affected by water quality issues to make contact with the company by calling Brent Stewart, Eastland Network general manager on 06 869-0700.
Eastland Group has owned the Waihi hydroelectricity scheme since it was purchased in 1999 as part of its Wairoa Power (electricity network) acquisition. Located at Lake Ruapapa on the Waihi River 26km north west of Wairoa, the dam was completed in 1986. Its reservoir is 5.2km in length, with an area of 42ha holding almost two million cubic metres of water. Annual electricity output is around 11GWh – enough to power about 1400 houses.