19 Aug 2008

South Island hydro lake levels low

3:40 pm on 19 August 2008

Water levels in the South Island's hydro lakes are again slipping down towards the so-called emergency zone.

While North Island lakes are overflowing, weeks of rain and snow have done little for some southern lakes, which are down to about 20% capacity.

A national power savings campaign was dropped at the end of July after an overall improvement in lake levels around the country.

A spokesperson for power company Meridian, Claire Shaw, says it is keeping a watch on many of the southern hydro lakes.

"We're lower than average for this time of year, and of course it is coming at the end of what is a very dry winter, so there's actually quite a lot of snow pack up there now. But what's good is there's plenty of snow, and it's just a matter of when it melts."

Transpower chief executive Patrick Strange says the low water levels do not warrant another power savings campaign, adding that it is too early to start talking about another nationwide power savings campaign.