The Government’s $7 million investment in the Waimea Community Dam Project through a Freshwater Investment Fund grant is testament to the significant role the Dam will have in improving the health of the Waimea River, says Waimea Water Ltd’s John Hutton.
Minister for the Environment Hon Nick Smith announced today that the grant will support improvements in water quality and minimum flows in the Waimea River. In summer, the river’s water regularly drops to unhealthy levels, resulting in increased algal blooms, dry river beds, and potential seawater intrusion on the coast.
Mr Hutton says the Waimea Community Dam is the only feasible solution to freshwater issues in Tasman District.
“One of the Dam’s purposes is to provide a reliable source of water for the next 100 years,” says Mr Hutton. “Another crucial purpose is that only the Dam, of all the researched options, meets our obligations to respect and care for the mauri of our rivers. Keeping the Waimea River health long-term is going to benefit everyone in the region in a multitude of ways.
“We must meet our responsibility today and for future generations.”
The Freshwater Improvement Fund grant is a significant milestone for the Waimea Community Dam project and the region. It speaks to the partnership aspect that is driving this project: the Dam is the only option that improves river health, attracts central government funding, and has private sector funding that pays for nearly half of the construction costs.
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.