A SAD BET TO WIN……….A year ago a friend n I had a $100 bet over the Waitahanui River mouth. I reckoned there was no way the Straight would reform to anywhere near what it used to be unless some work was done to clear the channel between that stupid bloody rock wall n the beach. She thought otherwise. But today, after one year the main photo is what the Waitahanui River mouth looks like, photo 2 is what it used to look like and thats an absolute tragedy. How the people involved in this, n we know who they are, sleep at night having stuffed this up is just beyond me. We have asked for answers n got no where, just crap about engineers reports etc. So in the absence of any explanation I am reluctantly left to conclude, Mercury NZ LTD abilities to use Lake Taupo as a storage Lake n their corporate profits come first n the welfare of the Waitahanui River second. I stand to be corrected if an explanation is offered, but until that explanation is offered, I’ll stand my ground.
TRM replies: Good on you DD for exposing this. But, according to local anglers, the Waytoohardanui cock-up is still minor compared to the damage done by the canals excavated in the lower Tongariro River – with the power company and councils hiding behind their excuse of “flood protection”, they have destroyed the largest Brown trout nursery and spawning area in the Taupo region. The anglers call it “gravel extraction”. Very sad disgraceful results in both locations. So where were the Taupo Fishery Managers – DOC? They are supposed to protect the fishery. Instead they supported the eco-vandals.
Interesting comment added to Facebook later by John Gibbs – x DOC Fishery Manager:
John Gibbs Dave you may recall that the rock reef was constructed to try and reduce erosion of the beach and properties to the south of the Waitahanui River mouth. Some 11 or 12 years ago when Mercury (then Mighty River Power) were proposing the rock pile I warned them, their consultants and WRC that it would interrupt the natural northward drift of sand that created and maintained the spit. I was assured that it wouldn’t, but if it did they would either excavate the tombolo (the sand bar joining the pile to the shore) or modify the rock pile. I guess that as I wasn’t an engineer or hydrologist, just a practical field biologist with 45 years experience in freshwater management, my views were dismissed.
I suggested that rather than interrupting the natural sand drift, that they replenish the eroding beach with material already dredged and stockpiled from the nearby Hinemaiaia HA dam. After all, it was the construction of this dam in 1952 and the subsequent HB and HC dams that have cut off the natural sediment input from the Hinemaiaia that would then drift northward and feed the Waitahanui spit. They and DOC will have it all on file. It’s all discoverable information.
In my time I have seen The Straight breach several times in westerly storms during high lake levels. But the spit has always rebuilt within a year or two. This is the first time in over 60 years that it has shown no signs of reestablishing after now about 4 years and I’m sure it never will as long as the reef and tombolo remains in its present form. It won’t be decades, it will be never.