Plans by King Country Energy (KCE), a private power company, to construct a hydro dam on the headwaters of a Taranaki river in the North Island of New Zealand have brought an angry reaction from long-time river users.
KCE’s proposed dam is expected to flood almost 5km of the Mokau river, flooding some of the white water rapids of the river. NZ Recreational Canoeing Association says the area is a key piece of white water that’s nationally recognised, and is very important for its wild and scenic values. Canoeists have been travelling the Mokau since 1949.
KCE’s old hydro station on the river has no large storage lake, and has minimal effect on the river flow. Plans for the new hydro station propose a new reservoir to start at the tailrace of the old station on the Mokau river, and flood the valley for 4.5km to the new hydro dam.