The three dam structures on the Clutha alter our environment even at times of normal flow. We may have the big advantage of a good power supply from which the country as a whole benefits, but this must be weighed against the problems created, always locally, from Hawea to the river mouth..


The disturbance of normal river flow and the problem of siltation reduces nutrients in the water for both fish and plants. It also creates spawning problems. There is a problem in the partial blocking at the dams for fish returning to the sea. Fish such as trout, salmon, which migrate up-stream and long finned eels can not migrate back downstream, cannot pass the dams to spawning grounds.

Good arable land outside the normal flood plain is temporarily damaged with crop losses to owners.

Some areas are taken over by Crown and Contact Energy and are left as an environmental eyesore. This has happened on the Lower Manuherikia and the Linger and Die.

Lake Dunstan already has areas silting up rapidly, especially in the Kawarau arm. Soon these are predicted to become wetlands rather than recreational waterways.


Dams along the Clutha can contribute to the instability of the riverbanks due to daily fluctuations in river flow. A serious slip at the Narrows in the Roxburgh gorge could be catastrophic

The dams creates barriers which stops silt naturally being carried out to sea. This is evident on the coast where beaches around Dunedin are shrinking through lack of new silt deposits.


The floods of recent years have traumatised all those affected. This has had a permanent for some.

A cheap flood bank is to be erected around two of the vulnerable parts of Alexandra. This is environmentally ugly, and not even guaranteed to be effective. In the case of a creeping flood it is more likely to let water in and hold it within the "protected " area. The maintenance costs are born by the communities.

Much of the heritage of the district is being lost at a time when other communities are developing theirs for tourism. Mining sites along the river are gone, the old Bendigo hotel and other old buildings are gone. We can look to the future, but our past is also important. Alexandra has lost a large slice of its budget tourist accommodation - the camping ground, Backpackers and the Bendigo hotel are all going or already gone

At times of flood communities, suffer from the inconvenience of closed and damaged roads and bridges


If we are to see Contact Energy granted water rights on the Clutha we must make it clear that they have certain obligations so that we are not worse off than we were before the dam.

We ask -

  1. Ownership and liabilities for flood banks lie with Contact Energy, not the community.
  2. Dredging to be done in areas of constriction to a minimum of 25% removal from below the Alexandra bridge in the vicinity at and near :
  3. Dredging the Manuherikia back to its 1956 river bed profile from the mouth back to the First Galloway Bridge.
  4. A minimum lake level needs to be set at Hawea to be determined by Guardians of Lake Hawea.
  5. The water flow should be kept at the status quo of 800 cumsecs, not the requested 1000cumsecs.
  6. The installation of fish passes or other suitable methods to migrate the blockage at the three dam structures.
  7. Set aside 2% of gross profit generated from the Roxburgh and Clyde dams to be spent on the river communities affected by the dams. This money is not to be used for maintenance but to balance the losses incurred by those living by or close to the dams and or lakes.
  8. The Renewal Rights to be of only 5 years followed by an independent assessment, paid for by Contact Energy. If the Report meets the Clutha River communities expectations, another 5 years is granted and so on. If there is no satisfaction, penalties are imposed and Contact Energy then has to reapply for its continuous of their water Renewal rights.
  9. Suggestions -

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