The hydropower potential of the Derwent catchment was realised in 1934 when construction began on the Derwent scheme. The last power station was commissioned in 1968.
There are two sections in the Derwent hydropower scheme - upper and lower. This is because of the difference in how the water is stored in the sections. Visually the scheme resembles a Y shape.
The upper section of the scheme uses larger deeper lakes than the lower section for water storage. The four main power stations in the upper section can release water as it is needed to generate electricity. The upper section is formed from the Nive River system in the east and Derwent River system in the west, making up the top of the Y.
The lower section is run-of-river, this means that water keeps on flowing creating a cascade effect down the river. There are six power stations in the lower section using the Derwent River water multiple times. The lower section forms the ‘tail’ of the Y.
The power station is supplied by the water stored at Lake King William. It is at the top of the ‘Y’ on the western side. Water then flows to Tarraleah Power Station.
Nieterana is the Aboriginal name for little brother. This mini hydro station sits along side ‘big brother’ Butlers Gorge Power Station and was commissioned in 2004. Its power source is the previously unused water from Lake King William that goes into the Tarraleah No 2 canal.
Lake Echo sources water from, you guessed it, Lake Echo. It is the first power station on the eastern side of the ‘Y’. Water flows from Lake Echo to Dee Lagoon and on to Tungatinah Power Station.
|1938 - 1951
Water flows from Butlers Gorge Power Station via a series of tunnels, canals and pipes to Tarraleah. The water drops 290 metres through penstocks (steel pipes) to the power station. The water from the station meets with water from Tungatinah and flows to Lake Liapootah.
|1953 - 1956
Through natural and man made means water is brought together from various lakes and lagoons to Tungatinah Power Station. Once through the station the water flow meets with water from Tarraleah and flows to Lake Liapootah.
This is the first power station in the lower run-of-river system. This is where the cascade effect of water begins. Water from Lake Liapootah runs through to Liapootah Power Station and continues to Wayatinah Lagoon.
Water from Wayatinah Lagoon flows through to Wayatinah Power Station, continuing its run to Lake Catagunya.
Lake Catagunya flows into Catagunya Power Station with the water running on to Lake Repulse.
Water from Lake Repulse turns the turbines at Repulse Power Station. The river continues to Cluny Lagoon.
Cluny Lagoon flows into Cluny Power Station. The cascade continues - water runs on to Lake Meadowbank.
Meadowbank Power Station is the last in the run-of-river system. Water continues its journey in the Derwent River and eventually out to sea.