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Project Aqua simulation well received

Media Release
For immediate release: Friday 19 December 2003

Project Aqua simulation well received

The new Project Aqua fly-by simulation is receiving very positive feedback from people visiting the recently opened Project Aqua Information Centre in Kurow.

“Many of the people who have viewed the new simulation – which shows how the Project Aqua scheme would integrate with the landscape in around 15 to 20 years time – have told the staff in the Project Aqua Information Office how the fly-by simulation has given them a new outlook on the proposed scheme,” says Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay.

“The simulation is helping to correct a lot of the misinformation and misunderstanding that has grown around the Project Aqua proposal.”

Project Aqua is a proposed hydro-electric scheme that would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley. It would generate enough low-cost, renewable electricity to power the equivalent of about 375,000 households in an average year and about 250,000 households in a very dry year (a very dry year is a 1-in-20 year event).

“For instance, some people thought the canal would be above the level of the valley for its entire length. In fact, the canal is in cut (as an excavation below the ground) for nearly half its length. It would only rise to a full 20 metres above the ground in a few locations upstream from some of the power stations,” says Mr Seay.

Some people also incorrectly thought that Project Aqua involved the building of high dams on the lower Waitaki River, similar to the dams further up the valley.

“The Project Aqua scheme would, of course, divert around two-thirds of the water from the Waitaki River to run down a 60km canal on the south side of the Waitaki Valley, through six power stations.”

The completed footprint of the Project Aqua scheme would only be around 719 hectares, about 9% of the area of Lake Benmore.

“People have begun to realise that the Project Aqua canal would just be another part of the landscape and infrastructure in the lower Waitaki Valley,” says Alan Seay.


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