Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Clutha River - dam plans threaten the river and plans for a park and trail

Often we take what is on our back door-step for granted and I'm as guilty of this as anyone. One of the major sources of the 338km long Clutha is only several minutes away from my door, and just lately with insidious requests locally from Contact Energy for opinions on 30 yr. old plans to build 4 dams I've been jolted so much my rose tinted spectacles have been shaken off!

The view looking west last Sunday from the Lake Wanaka outlet, where The Clutha begins in our neck-of-the-woods...

I'm also aware theĀ Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway Group is working to create NZ's largest river parkway along the entire 338km long Clutha Mata-Au corridor, including a river-length Clutha River Trail. Given the success of the Central Otago Rail Trail we're already pointing out the benefits that could come from these plans, that would bring thousands of visitors per year to enjoy something that is truly unique and awesome.

The Clutha very quickly develops a distinct character a Km downstream...

Thinking this through along with the recent successful dark avatar protest on twitter and other social networks to draw attention to an ill-conceived NZ Govt legislation with regards to copyright on the web it's occurred to me we don't have to take on this fight alone. With blogs etc. we can draw attention to these outdated plans on an international scale.

And this character has seasonal flavours...

Three of our largest lakes, Wakatipu [the well known alpine resort town of Queenstown is on it's shore], and my [home] Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea spawn this amazing waterway renown for it's water colour, history and scenic route to the sea among other things.

And it's always so dynamic - alive to it's journey to the sea and at peace with it's path so-much-so it flows with astounding speed and purity...

Through an ever changing landscape...

All of this landscape inc. Mt Aspiring in the distance feeds the Clutha...

Along the way it picks up side streams...

It's embarrassing to me as a New Zealander to say that if we need more power that we should first conserve what we have: it must be too cheap, our cost for it, as we all waste it, especially businesses, and how we fail to build and design efficient housing that lies to the sun is nothing short of disgraceful. But wait, there is more: we also let large corporations play with pricing and supply, not to mention our Govt...

I often wonder why we allow power from Fiordland's Lake Manapouri to be sold to the Comalco Aluminum Smelter at Bluff for an undisclosed sum. From this I assume it's sold very cheaply, so why don't we claim back our energy and use it for ourselves? I think we'd make more from it!

We need to get away from the concept of "owning" water and land - we are only the caretakers!

If you wish to pass on your views to Contact Energy this email address was published recently in one of our local newspapers:

They also run a forum [pity it's moderated - there is nothing transparent in this as they can choose to not publish opposition!]

And on their site there is a form for email

Lastly while I can't provide heaps of great New Zealand landscape photography of the route the Clutha takes to the sea, I here include a selection of some of the sources. The Shotover complete with troublesome "wilding" larches...

The Wilken and Makarora river valleys...

Matukituki River and Shotover Saddle in Mount Aspiring National Park...

The Matukituki entering Lake Wanaka near Glendhu Bay...

Site head's up for this week: If you'd like to know more of the nature of the Clutha, Pioneer Rafting have a flavoursome web site

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Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
Well written, and important stuff. I agree, creating ripples of awareness in forums such as this is vitally important. I am in the Taranaki this week, but when I have a chance I will add a link to your post from my recent one on the rivers. If there is anything else I can do please get in touch. We cannot let these power companies brainwash the public sector and run rampant. When I see the commericials that Meridian puts out with Newsboy Jeremy Wells I want to vomit. The notion to the younger generation that isd someone hip and cool like him fronts power companies it must be good. We have to fight these notions and really look at what is at stake. Kia kaha mate!

May 5, 2009 at 9:32 AM  

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