Yesterday’s Tasman District Council decision to re-confirm the Waimea Community Dam as the only viable solution to water security issues is welcome news for urban residents, farmers on the Waimea Plains, and regional businesses depending on security of water, says John Hutton of Waimea Water Ltd.
Councillors reviewed a collection of alternative solutions, some of which could supply enough water to the urban areas but none of which would improve the Waimea River’s health – a requirement of the National Policy Statement on Freshwater – or ensure replenishing of the river’s aquifers to provide water to urban water users and horticulture employers on the Waimea Plains.
“The Waimea Community Dam is a regional solution to a regional problem,” says Mr Hutton. “I’m pleased the robust discussion yesterday led everyone to focus on the only real solution before us that can solve all the problems we need to solve to ensure this region’s water supply and river health.”
Waimea Water Ltd is the proposed joint venture entity to be equally owned by Tasman District Council and Waimea Irrigators Ltd (WIL) to oversee and manage the Waimea Community Dam’s construction and operation. Mr Hutton is Interim Project Director.
“I was very optimistic that the data on all the alternatives, once laid out in full, would clearly point the way to the Dam, a 15-year project that is the most cost effective solution for urban ratepayers and indeed everyone on the Waimea Plains.”
The next step for the Dam is to finalise the funding model, which currently includes about half of the capital cost to be paid for by Waimea Irrigators Ltd, the largest funder. The community will then have its say later in the year on the funding model presented to confirm the Council’s preferred option to secure a water supply for the next 100 years.