Above the complex of Catagunya Lake, Dam and Power Station there were a number of viewing points from which to study the construction of the dam, the head race, switch yard, etc. It was so easy to admire the engineering feat that established this enterprise. Water was not moving in the race so it seemed that the Catagunya Power Station was closed down. Maintenance? Too much power being generated elsewhere? Water conservation and therefore prudent power generation management practices? The reason is unknown.
Did you notice how thin the water race walls were? If you imagine the pressure of the water in the race you might believe the walls should be thicker. Certainly, when compared to those of Tarraleah Canal No 1 (refer to photos in my earlier postings) these walls are much slimmer, and they do not have cross beams linking both sides together.
Did you notice the ladder over the wall? On this side and a second on the other side? This is more than is on offer in Tarraleah Canal No 1. Of course the ladders would be used as part of maintenance programs when the race is empty, and only a fool would step over the edge while the race is full of water. Since the power generation could be restarted at any moment, the speed of the water flow would almost immediately turn anything in that water into an electrical spark.
When looking at the Dam wall, Andrew saw specks of movement; these were the only people encountered in the whole day – three workers doing some work on the curving face of dam’s spillway. Can you spot them in the photograph? They are working on the yellow curved frame which has been custom built to move from left to right across the curve of the dam wall.
Andrew remarked, “I could hear their voices echoing off the concrete walls, but they were far too distant for them to see me”. There was no-one at the Power Station itself – so Andrew passed by with no-one the wiser that the visit had occurred. One sign attracted his attention.
It was quite extraordinary to see a sign with an image of a dolphin so far inland. Hydro Tasmania must be congratulated for alerting others to the damage which can be done to marine life should people pollute Lake Catagunya/the Derwent River. Apart from the damage to sea life 60% of Hobart’s drinking water comes from the Derwent River so the protection of these waterways is of paramount importance.