The Opuha Dam Scheme
So in the 1990s when the Opuha Dam Scheme came along and the Opuha Dam Company approached the society with an offer of six cumecs of water a year, the group was surprised.
“We were amazed. It was just something we had never thought was possible.”
Maintaining the river's water quantity
For the past 20 years, the Acclimatisation Society, succeeded by Fish & Game, have worked alongside the Opuha Dam Company to ensure the Opihi River continues to flow.
Three years ago, at the height of the most recent drought, the river got very close to drying up once again.
The Opuha Environmental Flow Release Advisory Group (OEFRAG) made it their number one priority to maintain connectivity in the river.
That meant irrigators were on restrictions, and towards the end of that summer, could not take water at all, just so the flow of the Opihi River could be maintained.
“We didn’t have to salvage fish from the Opihi at all and the river continued to flow all summer. Sure it was very low, but we were able to keep that flow going and that's a huge thing.”