Thursday 25 October 2018

Small Opahu Stream flowing through Lower Hutt goes DRY

Drought raises its head again in Lower Hutt as stream goes dry

At the beginning of the year I did a comprehensive report on drought in my own locality.

Chronicling the water crisis in the Wellington region – January, 2018

Now as an el-Nino starts to raise its head we are seeing the beginnings of another round of drought that goes largely unacknowledged in the press.

My partner, Pam went to a meeting of Friends of the Hutt River and reports on it below.

In the meantime some people shared anecdotes which confirmed what we already know.

One, a local whitebaiter who has known the river for many years reported that there is very little flow in the river as it starts its flow down to the sea.

However, it is this that stood out in my mind

Opahu Stream in Lower Hutt dries up for first time in 55 years

The Opahu Stream is a small stream that flows through the CBD of Lower Hutt, providing a feature in the gardens next to the Central Library.

It flows under much of the CBD and amongst the houses to reappear where it flows into the Hutt River. IN 2006 a pumping station was built to prevent flooding of residences on its course.
Drought was not on the minds of the authorities and still isn't.

Pam spoke to someone who lives in the CBD and he reported that for the first time since 1963 the stream went completely dry.

We went out for a look and found where a fairly depleted stream passes through the park next to the library.

We then went down to the pumping station on the north side of the river adjacent to the Allicetown rail bridge.

We were unable to see the stream in other locations as it goes underground or flow through private residences.

This is a clear indication of what maybe ahead of us.

Listen to our conversation below.

These are the latest figures on the flow of the Hutt River at Taita Gorge which is where I take measurements from.

As of yesterday the flow was 5.8 m3/second.

This is lower than a couple of years ago but not as low, yet, of it was at the end of last year.  We are, however, not even into November yet

Flow rates at the beginning of summer in 2017 were just over 3 metres/second, where they remained almost 2 months later.

Conclusion: We ain't seen nothing yet!

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