A Waikato university academic has investigated the benefits of building a combined hydro-power station and pump storage system between Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.
Earth and Ocean Sciences Associate Professor Earl Bardsley wants to get Otago residents’ opinions on the possibility of having a power station which could send water between the two lakes, controlling Wanaka water level fluctuations and generating electricity.
It is a PhD project he is supervising, which proposes taking advantage of the fact Lake Wanaka is only 2km from Lake Hawea at ‘the Neck’ but 65 meters lower.
This enables water transfers between the two lakes via a short tunnel.
“There would have to be some changing of the wording in the Wanaka Preservation Act for this to be considered a possibility, but it’s an interesting hypothetical study,” says Dr Bardsley.