Otago lake levels lowered due to quake risk

Lake levels in an Otago dam used for hydro power have been lowered after a safety review found the dam walls could fail in an earthquake.

Trustpower owns and operates the Waipori Power Scheme,  located 50km southwest of Dunedin.

The level of its No 2 dam was lowered by more than 2m so it was beneath the upper brick section  added in the early 1970s.

The review found the brick section could result in the partial or full uncontrolled release of water following a moderate-sized quake.

Trustpower said lowering the level was a precautionary measure that would reduce the risk.

An exclusion zone has been created in the gorge below the dam.

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