At a Glance
Branch River is a relatively recent Power Scheme, commissioned in 1983. The two stations, Wairau and Argyle, each have one generator, delivering a combined output of 11 MW and an average of 54.3 GWh a year.
Environment and recreation
Resource Consents for the scheme were renewed by Marlborough District Council in 2001. The new consents reflect the input of local fishermen and Fish and Game New Zealand. There was close consultation, including on how to consolidate the fishery within Lake Argyle, and how to redesign the existing fish pass to enhance the upstream fishery.
The fish pass now enables trout to swim upstream of the weir; and there’s a separate pass for native species. Discussions with Fish and Game are continuing, with a view to finding ways of preventing introduced species becoming stranded below the lake outlet weir within this catchment.
In addition, after a lengthy study, we committed to a long-term trout restocking programme, for the upper Branch and Leatham Rivers. The objective is for seven catchable trout (400 millimetres or longer) per kilometre of river.
We have a Memorandum of Understanding with tangata whenua that reinforces our commitment to improving the Longfin Eel fishery. An elver (young eel) trap and transfer programme is in place.