Updated economic report shows potential dam benefits at $923M

A July 2017 updated economic impact assessment shows the economic benefit of the Waimea Community Dam to the Nelson Tasman region could be as high as $923 million over the next 25 years at reasonable assumptions of new water allocations in the Tasman Regional Management Plan (TRMP).

John J Hutton, Interim Project Director of Waimea Water Ltd, has welcomed the refreshed findings from the NZIER’s Economic Impact Assessment report of the Waimea Community Dam dated July 2017. It is an update to a 2014 report commissioned by the Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) made in light of recent land use and water allocation changes under the TRMP in the Waimea district.

Mr Hutton says the updated report is another benefit of having the Waimea Community Dam to secure the region’s water supply.
“Yes, the dam’s ultimate purpose is to be a 100-year reliable source of water for the region. However, we cannot underestimate the direct economic benefit that the region would also realise from dam-building activities.

“Dam construction would bring investment and high paying jobs to the region. The report states the in the first year alone, construction activities would generate an additional $59 million in investment, resulting in an increase of regional GDP to the region of $55 million. Additionally, Nelson Tasman regional household incomes would rise $27 million due to higher incomes, generated by construction of the dam.”

Under conservative assumptions of new water allocations, the positive impact on regional GDP over 25 years of $665 million. A stronger assumption of water allocations could positively affect regional GDP by as much as $923 million.

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.

“The benefits are outlined very clearly in the report and they are overwhelming. In addition to the Waimea Community Dam being the cheapest and best solution to solve the region’s water concerns, there are significant benefits for our region’s economic security as well.”

NZIER is a specialist consulting firm that uses applied economic research and analysis to provide a wide range of strategic advice to clients in the public and private sectors, throughout New Zealand and Australia, and further afield.