13. Geothermal Resources

Lake Waiparaheka.



· The Ngawha springs are widely used for bathing. Baths have been excavated since 1908 in four separate areas. They have boarded sides and are fed through seepage in the bottom and/or sides. The bath waters have a small international and a large local reputation for their curative properties.

· Since July 1998, fluid from the Ngawha geothermal field has also been used for power generation.


· Human impacts on the Ngawha springs has meant that the location of the features has changed little, but the features themselves have been modified by bath excavation and mining operations in the early 20th Century.

· Monitoring, as required by the resource consent conditions, has significantly increased the knowledge base of the Ngawha springs area.

Doing well

· The resource consents granted for the power station in 1994 required the joint venture operators to undertake at least 12 months of further baseline monitoring in the Ngawha area before it could start abstracting geothermal fluid.

· Comprehensive ongoing monitoring of the environmental effects of the geothermal fluid take and power station were undertaken during the term of that consent.

· The consent conditions included establishment of a "peer review panel" and "community liaison committee" to increase both professional and community input into the monitoring of the resource and any effects of the power station.

· Applications were received by the Council in 2004 to renew the 1994 consents and increase the abstraction of geothermal fluid. As part of the consent and appeal process, additional investigations occurred and a trial was undertaken by the applicant to determine potential effects of injecting additional water into the geothermal field to maintain the reservoir pressure. The injection trial was undertaken to assess potential adverse effects on the springs. As a result of the trials and investigations, the Environment Court granted the consents in 2006.

· A revised comprehensive monitoring plan is currently being prepared to enable ongoing monitoring of the resource and the environment. Stringent consent conditions are imposed on the consents to ensure appropriate measures are undertaken to avoid and mitigate any potential effects on the environment.

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Published: 03 Apr 2008