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David Hamilton

David Hamilton

David Hamilton is a consulting engineer based in Dunedin.  Main areas of activity are river and flood control and irrigation including small dams.  David went to the University of Canterbury and was in the first cohort of agricultural engineers taught by Prof John Burton, Terry Heiler and Walter Boughton.  He commenced work with the Ministry of Works and Development in 1969 in Otago and worked on the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Scheme and a number of the Central Otago irrigation systems.  After working for two years on water supply in Western Samoa and then 4 years with the Hawkes Bay Catchment Board saw David returned to Otago as Chief Engineer to the Otago Catchment Board in 1983.  As a result of local government reorganisation in 1989 David was appointed Director of Operations / Technical Services with the Otago Regional Council.  David has been Otago Branch Chairman of Engineering New Zealand and was Chairman of the Engineering New Zealand Technical Group on Water.  In 1991 he was made an Engineering New Zealand Fellow.  In 1997 David set up his own small consulting engineering business and provides services to a number of irrigation companies, local authorities and mainly rural clients primarily in Otago.  He enjoys Central Otago and is now an irrigator himself on a lifestyle block near Alexandra with water delivered by gravity via old mining water races and 75 year old dams.

Paper: Early Water Races in Central Otago

Abstract: Gold mining was the driver for the first water races constructed in Central Otago from the 1860s. As the easy gold was won and the races were abandoned by the miners they were used for domestic and stock water and then irrigation of pasture and horticulture. Many of the races are long, on steep hillsides, and construction was undertaken with limited resources. These races continue to be used although a number have been upgraded to allow vehicle and machinery access. The paper presents two case studies: the 108 km Mt Ida Water Race constructed from 1873 to supply water to the Naseby gold mining area that still supplies water to Naseby township and farmers in the area; and the Teviot irrigation and hydro-electric power system near Roxburgh that was developed into the combined system after a goldmining venture failed in 1922. Both networks and water rights became owned by the Government. The Public Works Department carried out modifications and extensions for distributing water to both systems in the 1920s. The Mt Ida Water Race starts at 850m altitude and collects water from numerous small mountain catchments along the Hawkdun and Ida Ranges. The Teviot system relies on the Teviot River and a 13m high 46Mm3 storage dam at Lake Onslow at 680m altitude and utilises some 370m of fall. The systems are now owned and operated by companies. The paper also introduces the principal irrigation dams in Central Otago in summary form. It concludes that the water supply systems originally built with their focus solely on gold mining have been successfully transformed into multipurpose water supply systems for irrigation, domestic, stockwater and hydropower.

Sir Neil Cossons
Paul Davies
David Dolan
Wayne Johnson
Euan McQueen
Robert McWilliam
Duncan Waterson
David Beauchamp
Trevor Butler
Matthew Churchward
Andrew Cleland
Rachael Egerton
John Fitzmaurice
Don Fraser
John Gibson
Owen Graham
David Hamilton
Bill Harvey
Peter Holmes
Kevin Jones
Paul Mahoney
Tom Williamson
Peter Lowe
Peter Marquis-Kyle
Gavin McLean
Rob Merrifield
Owen Peake
Miles Pierce
John Porter
Nigel Ridgway
Tony Silke
Jim Staton
Richard Venus
Ian Walsh
Daniel Woo
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