- Damage to Waihi dam sluice gates resulted from an extreme weather event in September 2015
- Urgent repairs commenced immediately and a subsequent resource consent has now been given to enable the team to restore the dam to full operation
Eastland Group chief executive, Matt Todd, has reiterated today that the company is doing everything possible, with a highly skilled team, to repair and restore the Waihi Dam to full operation.
“Locals in the Gisborne area will recall the severe storms last year which caused a number of slips and road closures throughout the region. Regrettably the storm also affected the operations of the 5MW hydroelectricity station, in particular the sluice gates, on the Waihi River.
“We quickly mobilised an engineering team to the site to undertake work to fix the sluice gates. That team was working seven days a week, and had nearly completed work on the first of the three gates, when the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council asked us to provide an independent engineering report to confirm that we were carrying out the correct works.
“We are as keen as anyone to get the dam operating again and have deployed a number of initiatives to enable us to make the necessary repairs including using an amphibious excavator and suction pumps. We are removing the build-up of sediment and debris, which was deposited during the storm event, which will allow us to repair the sluice gates,” says Mr Todd.
The Eastland Group team has been working closely with local and regional councils, local landowners and businesses in the area to ensure that they are unaffected by the reparation works underway.
Mr Todd also confirms that temporary gabion baskets have also been installed downstream from the dam to catch sediment prior to entering the Waiau River. Silt collected in the area is being transported to council approved clean-fill sites on nearby farmland.
“The report concluded that essentially the same work needed to be completed and we have since received a resource consent from the HBRC and are underway,” he says.
“Waihi dam has three sluice gates, located at the base of the concrete dam, which usually operate at times of high flow to release water and sediment, relieving pressure on the dam. During the storm sediment and debris built up around the sluice gates, which had been operating as required up until that time.”
- 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.
More information: Sue Hamilton Communications for Eastland Group 027 549-3330