The Behaviour Of The Wairakei Geothermal Field During Exploitation

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Journal Article: The Behaviour Of The Wairakei Geothermal Field During Exploitation

Since the first bore discharged at Wairakei in 1951, the total mass drawn from the field up to the middle of 1969 was 660,000,000 tons. Over this period, the rate of discharge has varied considerably from the gradual build up in the early years, to relatively sudden and substantial increases and decreases which have been imposed on the system from time to time. This paper describes the changes which have taken place in the underground pressures and temperatures and in the nature of the discharge from the field during exploitation. The relationship between these factors is discussed, and the conclusion presented that the Wairakei system consists basically of a higly permeable hot water aquifer contained within almost impermeable boundaries. Under exploitation, the dominant influence on the system is the saturation temperature pressure relationship for water, but the withdrawal of steam from the upper levels, and the existence of a hot inflow at the lower levels have also played an important part. A satisfactory mathematical model having a predictive ability has not yet been formulated, but from a consideration of the past behaviour, in general terms, the power output of the Wairakei station can be sustained at or near its present level for a number of years to come.

R. S. Bolton

Published Journal 
Geothermics, 1970

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R. S. Bolton. 1970. The Behaviour Of The Wairakei Geothermal Field During Exploitation. Geothermics. (!) .