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Waimea Community Dam Resevoir Is Full

Te Kurawai o Pūhanga, the reservoir behind the Waimea Community Dam, reached its full capacity and the spillway commenced flowing on Sunday 21 January 2024.

“This is a momentous milestone for the project, and I thank all those involved in getting us to this point,” said Waimea Water Ltd CEO Mike Scott.

“We have been pleasantly surprised with the rain over the Christmas period and then again last week. This has led to the reservoir being filled and meant that our shareholders (Tasman District Council and Waimea Irrigators Ltd) have not needed water released over the period to fend off any restrictions.”

“As the reservoir was filled, water has been flowing from the dam to ensure river levels are above the required minimum flow. We have been prepared to release more water from the dam had our shareholders faced restrictions, but river levels have not yet dropped to a level where the dam has been needed. We will release more water if and when our shareholders require,” said Scott.

Now that the reservoir is full, final engineering analysis and verification of dam performance will conclude over the balance of this month, at which point the dam and spillway are effectively commissioned. The temporary pipes and facilities will then be removed to complete the final hook up of the permanent pipework. Waimea Water Ltd expects the project to be completed and commissioned in March 2024.

“We have been looking forward to this day for a long time and I thank the community and shareholders for their ongoing patience,” said Scott.


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Photo caption details

Te Kurawai o Pūhanga, the reservoir behind the Waimea Community Dam at full capacity.

Water flows down the spillway and beneath the Nick Patterson bridge.

How the dam works

Water released from the Waimea Community Dam complements the natural system by supplementing low river flows to assist recharge of the Waimea aquifers. Assisted recharge of the aquifers maintain water levels for extraction and reduce the risk of saltwater intrusion from the coast. Maintaining higher river flows also improves river health.

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