5 Feb 2016

Plans being made to halt sediment discharge

10:53 am on 5 February 2016

Hawke's Bay Regional Council is hopeful the discharge of sediment from the Waihi Dam into the Waiau River will cease by the end of next week.

Waiau River, Southland.

Waiau River Photo: 123RF

Massive amounts of sediment has been pouring through a sluice gate that was damaged when it was opened by electricity generator Eastland Group during a storm in November last year.

Local farmers say the discharge from Waihi Dam is hitting them financially as it is stopping them from being able to pump water from the stream for their stock.

The council's group manager resource management, Iain Maxwell, said the sluice gate was trapped by sediment and the solution was to remove the sediment.

"As a result of trying to fix this there will be further sediment discharge into the river. The expertise on site has looked at all the options and the view is from all parties that is the most pragmatic and quickest way to fix this."

Eastland Group would inform the council of its plan to solve the issue - and most importantly how to close the gate - tomorrow, Mr Maxwell said.

Specialist dam engineering company DamWatch has been asked to provide advice on the group's proposed options,

In the meantime, Eastland Group has created a structure below the dam to trap as much sediment as it can before it hits the Waiau River.