Waimea dam given more time to find money


The group behind the proposed Waimea Community Dam has been given more time to work out a deal with the government in the hope that it will tip some money into its construction.

The $82.5 million project will be jointly funded by the Tasman District Council and the Waimea Community Dam Limited. But there is a shortfall, which it is hoped will be filled by the government, via Crown Irrigation Investments.

TDC’s chief executive Lindsay McKenzie says the extra time for negotiations would not place the project at risk.

“We can push the time line out by up to six months without too much difficulty although changes to the timing of water allocation regime in the TRMP will be needed. Securing funding to bridge the gap between what the Council has budgeted and the project’s cost is critical to the project’s future.”

Lindsay says the council wouldn’t be taking this step if it didn’t have confidence that the funding gap to be met by irrigators and external sources was achievable.

John Palmer, who is providing support to WCDL, has briefed the council and is optimistic about the company’s bid to raise the sum needed.

“We are talking with the appropriate agencies, including the Crown Irrigation Investment Limited managers, and they believe we have a very supportable project,” he says.

Lindsay says the dam remains the best single solution to the social, environmental and economic issues facing the area due to the lack of a secure supply of water.  “We need to give the project every chance of success. Residents have been very clear about the level of support we can provide via the Council’s Long Term Plan with the bulk of the funding coming from external sources as well as irrigators.”