Living World

Waitaki: water of tears, river of power

In an age when rivers are managed to satisfy the competing demands of dozens of users, the raw power of a mighty river such as the Waitaki is rarely seen. Draining the central mountains of the South Island from Mt Cook National Park south to the Lindis Pass, the waters of the Waitaki—"water of tears"—now churn the turbines of a bevy of power stations before being siphoned off to irrigate dry plains closer to the coast. Here, 1000 cubic metres of water a second thunder across the spillway of Lake Benmore hydro station.

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