Water to flow in Tekapo canal soon

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2014

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Water will soon return to the Tekapo canal, as Genesis Energy wraps up a multi-million dollar repair job.

Genesis spokesman Richard Gordon said the work had been completed well ahead of schedule, because of the largely settled weather.

About 150 workers have assisted in the job of repairing and relining the two kilometre section known as the Maryburn Fill. Mr Gordon expected the water to return to the canal today and Tekapo's A and B power stations to begin generating again soon after.

"We thank the Tekapo community for being so co-operative during this busy period," Mr Gordon said.

The work began in the first week of January last year. More than 150 workers spent nearly 12 weeks repairing and lining a 6km section of the canal.

"The job was always going to be smaller this year," Mr Gordon said.

"But we've been lucky with both summers, the weather has held up and there have been very few delays. If anything, we finished a little ahead of time."

The total cost of the work over the two summers was expected to be more than $125 million, and is expected to "future-proof" the canal for nearly 50 years.

Mr Gordon said European firm Capri-tech had provided up to 50 staff, while Fulton Hogan and assorted local contractors had provided the rest.

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon general manager Janine Tulloch said this summer had been more settled than last year. The company farms on the hydro canals and had to move about 300,000 fish to its neighbouring farms at lakes Ohau and Ruataniwha, while High Country Salmon also offered to look after some of its stock.

"We've been better prepared this year. Some of the fish didn't react that well last time, but this time around the operations have run smoothly," Ms Tulloch said.

Most of the Fulton Hogan staff came from Christchurch and Nelson.

Twizel real estate agent Margaret Armstrong said the rental market had been "frantic" because of the foreign canal workers staying in the town, as well as a busier than usual tourist season. "There have been times over summer when I've had nothing to offer," she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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