Waimea Irrigation Limited told the Tasman District Council that it has support from land owners.

Waimea Plains landowners back dam

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The Waimea Community Dam is one step closer after landowners on the Waimea Plains have indicated they are willing to invest sufficient funds in the project to pay for their share of the $82million irrigation dam.

Waimea Irrigators Limited (WIL) surveyed around 700 landowners on the Waimea Plains asking for expressions of interest in purchasing shares to fund the minimum $15million required from landowners towards the total cost of the proposed dam.

Additional funding for the $82million dam in the Lee Valley is also likely to come from the Government agency  Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd, which has signalled it may provide a $25million loan, and the Tasman District Council which has allocated $25million in its Long Term Plan for the dam.

WIL project manager Natasha Berkett told a council meeting in Richmond on Thursday that they have reached and exceeded the 3000 target after receiving expressions of interest from 270 property owners. The property owners indicated they would purchase at least 3000 of the 5000 available shares which are expected to cost $5000 each.

Natasha says the expressions of interest ranged from one to 147 shares with more than 200 properties under 10 hectares interested in purchasing shares. She says the next step will be to work towards converting the expressions of interest into signed up shares when the Product Disclosure Statement is released later this year.

The statement will provide relevant information for investors in the dam and ask them to make a financial commitment to the scheme.

The proposed dam will be 52m high and store 13.4 million cubic metres of water which will be released into the Lee River to maintain the level of aquifers on the Waimea Plains that supply water to irrigators and urban users.