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waitaki valley

Waitaki dam

Explore the Waitaki Valley Meridian Energy Dams.

These huge structures provide natural power to businesses and households across New Zealand.

Waitaki hydro station, located in the Waitaki Valley, has seven 15 megawatt generating units, totalling a generation output of up to 105 megawatts.

Waitaki generates enough electricity each year for about 51,000 average New Zealand homes.

Waitaki was constructed by manual labor as a ‘make work’ project during the Depression of the 1930s. Meridian is investing more than $40 million on a four-year project to refurbish the Waitaki dam and power station.

The Waitaki power station was the last to be constructed in New Zealand without modern mechanical equipment. Over half a million cubic meters of material was excavated, almost entirely by pick and shovel.

It is a concrete arch dam with no spillway, but it’s designed to allow water to flow over the top if it floods.

The hydro station started generating electricity in 1935, with two 15 megawatt generators operating – enough to meet almost half of the South Island’s electricity needs at that time.

Three more generators were installed between 1940 and 1949, bringing the generation capacity up to 75 megawatts.

The remaining two units were constructed from 1952 to 1954. The whole powerhouse was extended and a new inlet and outlet channel constructed to accommodate them.

Watch a video about Waitaki Dam from Meridian Energy

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