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Community To Reap Huge Benefits From Project Aqua


Local Community Set To Reap Huge Benefits From Project Aqua

Hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be spent in the Waitaki, Waimate and Timaru districts if Project Aqua is built.

Meridian Energy says it wants the local community to benefit from Project Aqua, the proposed hydro electricity scheme in the lower Waitaki Valley.

Spokesman Alan Seay says during the eight years it would take to construct Project Aqua, there would be hundreds of jobs created each year – many of them locally.

“Even when the scheme is finished, many Project Aqua employees would live in the Waitaki Valley and would spend their money locally. So the development may provide impetus for local businesses to expand or start up,” says Alan Seay.

“In addition, the provision of more reliable and reasonably-priced electricity will benefit local industry.”

There are recreational benefits as well, including the proposed lakes at Kurow and Duntroon.

One of the major benefits would be irrigation, with over 20% of the flow below the Waitaki Dam earmarked for that purpose.

“Irrigation developed in association with Project Aqua could push farm production up by an estimated $80 million each year, creating 1,800 jobs,” says Alan Seay.

“The development of any irrigation scheme has the potential to provide major financial benefits for farming communities, and make a contribution to the sustainable economic wealth of the region.”

New Zealand householders and businesses would also benefit from wholesale electricity prices being between 5 and 10 percent lower than they might be if Project Aqua does not proceed.

Project Aqua would generate enough low-cost, renewable electricity to power the equivalent of about 375,000 households in an average year and about 250,000 households in a very dry year. A very dry year is a 1-in-20 event

“Project Aqua will provide hundreds of jobs within the district, boost local businesses, enable irrigation benefits for local farmers and provide recreational benefits – who can say that would not benefit the community?” says Alan Seay.


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