New Zealand dams appear safe after earthquake

Dams in New Zealand appear to be safe after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island on Nov. 14, triggering a small tidal wave.

More than 400 aftershocks were recorded.

News sources did report on breaching of one “slip dam,” which appears to be earthquake debris that “slipped” into the Clarence River and then broke apart, releasing “a surge of water up to 15 m high.”

More than 75 hydropower projects, and many dams that impound water for municipal water supply, are located in New Zealand. Many of these hydro projects are on the South Island. In fact, according to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority website, “In New Zealand we generate more than half of our electricity from hydro generation.”

The country’s Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management called this the Kaikoura earthquake and warned people to be prepared for further aftershocks.

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