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Waitaha River saved from hydro scheme

Forest & Bird is celebrating the success of a campaign to protect the wild Waitaha River from a hydro scheme.

The Government has turned down Westpower Limited’s application to build a 20MW hydro electricity scheme on the West Coast’s Waitaha River.

"We’re absolutely delighted with this decision to protect one of our most outstanding and scenic rivers for future generations,” says Forest & Bird spokesperson Jen Miller. “This is one of New Zealand’s last truly wild rivers as well as pristine conservation land.”

More than 3000 people submitted on the concession application by Westpower Limited in November 2016. The vast majority were against the proposal.

“Turning down the scheme is an obviously good decision. More than 25 native bird species including kea, kākā and kārearea, plus long-tailed bats, and forest and green geckos make the Waitaha their home," says Ms Miller.

“There are already consented, unbuilt hydro schemes on the coast, so the economic case for this one was very weak. Given new technologies such as solar and battery storage, and the main transmission line's resilience to storms, the proposal to dam an ecologically significant area was entirely retrograde.

“This is a win for conservation, a win for kayakers, and a win for future generations of New Zealanders.”

For more information see:
-This Forest & Bird magazine article (page 6)
-This blog by Tony Baldiwn

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