Group urges council to review Mighty River Power's consent
The Friends of Lake Taupo are urging Waikato Regional Council to take the opportunity to review Mighty River Power's resource consent.
Friends of Lake Taupo secretary Johnny Bell said there was a provision to review the council's Lake Taupo operation every five years, with the next opportunity arising next month.
"The current resource consent does not require Mighty River Power to control erosion. The only item in the consent that even mentions erosion is where it says Mighty River Power said there would be no change to erosion, but the resource consent itself does not require them to honour that."
Mr Bell said the group would like to see Mighty River Power honour its commitment to an "as-natural" erosion process.
Hydro generation manager Gavin Williamson said there was some suggestion Mighty River Power was non-compliant with its resource consent, a claim he "would totally refute".
"The independent scientific reports over the past few years does not support [the Friends'] views," Mr Williamson said.
"There are a range of factors that influence erosion including clearance of vegetation on the foreshore, and the building of structures such as boat ramps which deflect and interfere with the natural movement of sediment on the shore. Pumice soil is also prone to eroding naturally."
Lake level management was not a major contributor to erosion, Mr Williamson said, and there was nothing in the science that would support a review of Mighty River Power's consent.
"I would also note the lake is in-flow driven. We can only influence - not control - the lake level, and management reduces the extreme nature of major flood events."
Friends committee member Christine McElwee said there was a very real need for the council to undertake a review of all hydro generators utilising the lake, Mighty River Power "in particular".
"The management of lake level can be linked scientifically to accelerated shore erosion lake wide. In certain locations, for example Kuratau, it's not only affected by lake levels but also loss of sediment as it is trapped by a King Country Energy dam upriver," she said. "Similarly, TrustPower's dams on the Hinemaiaia River also trap sediment, affecting the lakeshore at Hatepe."
Mrs McElwee said the group supported the ongoing use of the lake for hydro generation provided the authorities in charge of resource consent ensured damage was minimal.
Council spokesman Stephen Ward said a decision on whether or not to review Mighty River's consent would be made shortly.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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