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Chadwick gets hands-on view of risks of lahar

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

10 January 2008 Media Release

Chadwick gets hands-on view of risks of lahar

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick will today experience first-hand the risks and emergency response plans for future lahars on Mount Ruapehu.

Steve Chadwick is tracking the path of the lahar that flowed from the Crater Lake on 18th March last year, down the Whangaehu River. She is walking the route of this and previous lahars, which have helped to shape the surrounding landscape.

“This route introduces lahar sensor technology at the Crater Lake, the Alpine Club hut and at Tukino, which are part of the Eastern Ruapehu Lahar Warning System. The system was introduced in 2000 by the Labour-led government to reduce the risks caused to life and property by such lahars.

“This system gave enough warning during the 18 March lahar last year to avoid any loss of life or significant damage. It’s fascinating to see the network of warning systems and defence work in place to minimise the impact of any future lahars down the Whangaehu Valley. And it was exciting to learn how this technology is still evolving to extend our ability to warn agencies.

“The careful planning and quick reactions by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and other agencies resulted in the lahar last March going perfectly to plan.

“The Whangaehu River has carried thousands of lahars, and it’s very interesting to see how the debris has shaped a lot of the Desert Road area. Last year’s lahar will not be the last, and it’s vital that we’re just as prepared for next time when it won’t be so predictable.”

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick joined a group of 20 walkers as part of DOC’s summer programme, lead by scientist Dr Harry Keys.


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