Consent applications are likely to be lodged this month for a
multimillion-dollar upgrade of Lake Opuha.
Opuha Water Ltd plans to lodge resource consent applications
with Environment Canterbury and the Mackenzie District
Council in a plan to increase the lake's capability.
The dam's lower weir has a spill capacity of 110cu m per
second (cumecs), designed to wash out in a one-in-five-year
Opuha Water wants to increase its spill capacity to
250cumecs, which requires the construction of another
spillway capable of releasing 140cumecs. It would then be
capable of withstanding a one-in-20-year flood.
That would cost $1.7 million. Opuha Water has also been
investigating building a micro-hydro power generation plant
that would have a power output of between 300kW and 400kW.
The main driver is the $250,000 replacement cost of a fusible
section that washes away if flows reach more than 100cumecs.
It washed away in 2003 and 2009.
Opuha Water chief executive Tony McCormick had wanted to have
the consents lodged by last Christmas but there had been a
delay in getting responses from other parties.
''Some of the issues appeared to be a little bit different
from what we had anticipated; there have been some
''We are looking to lodge consents this month and we are
pushing ahead with detailed design,'' Mr McCormick said.
The company is aiming to begin construction by the end of
this year and plans to take on debt to cover the project
cost. The economics of the $1.8 million hydro proposal were
marginal and were being revisited, he said.
''The medium-term outlook for electricity prices has
softened. We have just this week planned a process to resolve
that decision quickly and need to make that decision in the
next couple of months.''
- by Al Williams