The government must support the $18 million requested for the Waimea Community Dam from the Provincial Growth Fund to prevent Tasman from losing up to $1 billion from its economy, says IrrigationNZ.
The Tasman District Council has recently lodged the funding application.
“This project has one of the strongest cases for government support of any project currently being considered across New Zealand – it is essential for the future of Tasman and Nelson’s people and environment. Not proceeding with the project would be a major blow to the region’s future as it would remove a huge amount of money from a small local economy,” says IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Andrew Curtis.
“There are some serious consequences for the Tasman/ Nelson area if there isn’t investment in water storage in terms of future job losses, reduced economic activity and lower household incomes and the introduction of severe water restrictions for urban and rural water users,” he adds.
Investment in Waimea Community Dam will also help the environment because water from the dam can be released into the Waimea River over summer so swimmers and anglers can enjoy the river.
According to Northington Partners if the project doesn’t proceed the region could lose up to $1 billion over the next 25 years.
Mr Curtis says that people living in Tasman and Nelson would be likely to see similar benefits from the dam construction as Northlanders experienced from the development of water storage in Kerikeri in the 1980s..
An impact assessment found after 30 years of the KeriKeri scheme operating it had created 1,300 additional jobs and was adding $106 million per year to the Northland economy.6.5% of all jobs in the Far North District were due to the Kerikeri scheme’s operation.The assessment also found the scheme had not had a negative impact on the water quality of the surrounding waterways.
“Over the past 30 years the scheme has had a very positive impact on the community in Kerikeri and the surrounding area. People living in the Kerikeri area have higher rates of home ownership, higher household incomes and higher rates of full-time employment than the rest of Northland,” says Mr Curtis.