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Agreement on plan for Norðlingaalda Diversion

June 3, 2004

The reservoir level will be 566 m above sea level in summer and 567.5 m above sea level in winter.  As is generally known, the district council of Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur decided with Landsvirkjun last autumn to establish a negotiating committee for discussing the arrangement of the Norðlingaalda Diversion in the river Þjórsá; cf. the ruling on the assessment of the project's environmental impact, dated 30 January 2003, and the review by the Environment and Food Agency, dated 1 July 2003. The negotiating committee has held a total of five working meetings and closely familiarised itself with the matter, for instance by meeting with the acting Minister for the Environment, Jon Kristjánsson, and his advisors; with the Director and representatives of the Environment and Food Agency; and with the General Director and representatives of the Icelandic Institute of Natural History. In addition, the members of the committee have been presented with a large amount of information, old as well as new.

As a result of these discussions, agreement has been reached between Landsvirkjun and Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur on a plan for the Norðlingaalda Diversion. The reservoir level will be determined by adjusting the rubber gates at the dam to 566 m above sea level in summer, and at their highest position to 567.8 m above sea level in winter. The winter operating level of the reservoir will be about 0.3 m lower than that position, or 567.5 m above sea level.

Further to this agreement, the districts of Skeiða- og Gnúpverjahreppur and Ásahreppur will incorporate the project into their municipal plans. Moreover, the committee on the Regional Plan for the Central Highlands of Iceland will amend plans for the region, adapting them to the agreement. This process is likely to take several months. When the plan has been confirmed, however, it can serve as a basis for issuing the construction permit.

The agreement described above closes disputes on this construction project that have lasted for decades. It is of the utmost importance that a general consensus exist regarding the project and that successful co-operation be achieved with the local population on this and other matters of mutual interest.

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