Rotorua’s geothermal activity makes it a unique place to host the IPWEA 2015 conference, but what exactly is going on underneath the ground in this volcanic region?
IPWEA invited Volcanologist Brad Scott along to the conference to give delegates an insight into the geothermal system below the city.
Scott explained the political background behind the geothermal activity in the area, pointing to the ‘Bore Wars’
of the late nineties as a particularly divisive time. This was when more than 300 bores were closed in the region in the hope of reviving geothermal activity in the Whakareware-Te-Puia area, leaving only six remaining.
In the first instance, the Government undertook a monitoring program over the course of a number of years, which led to a bore recovery program in the region.
According to Scott, the recovery program led to a number of bores coming back to life, and in some instances damage to properties that had been developed above them.
For the engineers in the room he explained the ways in which course gravel is used in areas where a bore is suspected to allow the ground to breathe (and the public to remain safe).
Rotorua District Council Manager Engineering Services, Andy Bell was called on during question time to answer what materials are used for underground pipes in the region, to which he answered fiberglass and mixed composites, typically.