Westpower is seeking a DOC concession for a 20MW hydro scheme on the pristine Waitaha River. The scheme would involve a weir at the start of Morgan Gorge, diverting water through a tunnel to a power station below the gorge, after which the flow would return to the river.
WWNZ modelling indicates that the scheme would result in a total loss of the recreational amenity in the gorge, due to the reduction in suitable flows for boating this challenging section. Kayakers should be prepared to make submissions to DOC to preserve the recreational amenity. Although Westpower have consulted with kayakers prior to the concession application it is not apparent that any of the feedback from paddlers has been taken into account.