Landowners living in the area of the proposed Klondyke storage lake have met with Rangitata Diversion Race Management Ltd (RDRML) staff and consultants over the past week to discuss possible impacts during its construction, and steps that will be put in place to minimise risks of a dam leak or break.
The company wrote to approximately 60 adjacent and downstream landowners in mid-March inviting them to learn more about likely construction effects of the proposed water storage facility and to understand the international best practice design process that is followed for dams, which will be undertaken by RDRML. The landowners, alongside a handful of other affected parties, were identified by engineering company MWH Global Limited as having a particular interest in the water storage facility.
Last February, RDRML unveiled its proposal for a water storage facility near its Klondyke intake on land mostly already owned by the company. The project, which could store up to 53 million cubic metres of water, has been under investigation for the past five years. As well as storing water for irrigation, the lake may be used to boost local stream flows and managed aquifer recharge (to increase and improve the quality of groundwater supply), and support recreation.
Twelve landowners responded to the mail-out with nine taking up the opportunity to meet the company. RDRML CEO Ben Curry says while they had hoped for stronger interest, RDRML will also host two public forums in late April providing another opportunity to meet and to allow the wider public to hear where the project has got to and ask questions.
From landowner meetings held so far, Mr Curry says the main concerns have been focused on noise and dust effects and traffic disruption expected during the construction phase. The company intends to manage these through a variety of tried and tested mitigation techniques, such as managing traffic movements to and from the site, upgrading the sections of the road network, using dust control water sprinklers and placing restrictions around how and when construction activity can occur. The public will have the opportunity of submitting on these concerns during the resource consent process later this year.
Mr Curry says the lake will be designed to meet the highest possible standards for a dam in New Zealand, as outlined in the New Zealand Society on Large Dams Guidelines. Due to its scale and water holding potential, the Klondyke storage lake will be given a High Potential Impact Classification which means it needs to meet the most adverse loading conditions such as the largest possible flood and strongest possible earthquake at the site. It will need a building consent as well as resource consent, and the former requirement will involve an independent peer review process. To minimise problems, the dam will have a strong liner and drainage layers to manage potential leaks. A stringent monitoring programme will be in place 24-7 enabling advance notice and management of un-expected pressure or changes to the lake’s operation. Monthly visual inspections, instrumentation monitoring, regular surveys and engineering inspections will ensure the lake meets current best practice and an emergency management plan will be in place to notify and protect neighbours in the event an incident occurs.
The process from here on in is that RDRML will hold two public forums later this month following on from last May’s public meetings to introduce the proposal. The company then hopes to lodge resource consent by the middle of this year, with an expectation this phase will continue into 2017. If successful, construction could start as early as 2018 with a three to five year construction timeframe.
The public forums will take place on Wednesday 27th April at the Hinds Hall and the Mayfield Hall. The Hinds Hall event will run from 11am to 2pm, while the Mayfield Hall event will run from 4pm to 7pm. Anyone interested in learning more about the Klondyke Storage Lake is welcome to attend and view technical reports completed to date, and to speak with company representatives and members of the expert team that have been advising RDRML. Importantly, the events will not involve presentations, but will rather be drop-in events, whereby the information will be available for parties to view at their leisure while the events are running. Information about the project can also be found on the RDRML website www.rdrml.co.nz
For more information please contact;
Chief Executive RDRML
03 307 8320