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Project Aqua Fill Sites Put To Good Use

Project Aqua Fill Sites Put To Good Use

Fill sites created by the construction of Project Aqua would all be used as either productive farmland or for possible landscape or ecological enhancement, says Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay.

Mr Seay was referring to Meridian Energy’s response to a request for further information from the consenting authorities as the Project Aqua resource consent process continues.

A fill site is an area of excess earth resulting from earthworks. “Many fill sites will be returned to productive farmland under the terms of the agreements Meridian Energy has made with the landowners.”

Mr Seay said other fill sites that were not returned to farmland would also be put to good use.

“This land could potentially be used to enhance the landscape of the area as well as the ecological system. We’re committed to minimising any impacts on the area and see these options as helping that. The design for these areas is still being worked through,” he said.

Meanwhile, there has been some confusion surrounding the amount of high-class soil that would be removed from productive use. The reason for this is that Ecan and the Otago Regional Council define high-class soils in different ways.

“Using the ORC definition, only 4 percent of the best soil would be lost in the lower Waitaki area, while this figure is 0 percent under the Ecan method, ” said Mr Seay.

Project Aqua is a proposed hydro-electricity scheme with a 60-kilometre canal, six hydro power stations, two outfalls and new high-voltage transmission lines. It would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley, from an intake at Kurow to an outfall 6 km from the coast. It would generate about 3000 GWh in an average year and 2000 GWh in a very dry year.

Copies of the information supplied to the councils are available from Meridian Energy by calling 0800 AQUA INFO, or downloadable from the Project Aqua website.

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