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Critical deadline for Central Plains Water scheme

23 October 2013


Critical deadline for Central Plains Water scheme

For the Central Plains Water Ltd irrigation project to proceed, it needs a minimum shareholder commitment to irrigate 18,000 ha of Stage I of the 60,000ha scheme by October 31.

After 13 years of development, CPWL aims to raise $45 million from shareholders of which $35 million will be used to construct Stage I of the scheme and the remaining to fund the design for Stage II and Stage III and also to contribute to the building of extra capacity in the Stage I headrace to allow for the future stages.

“The deadline is 5pm on October 31 to commit to Stage I Construction Shares and Stage II & III Pre-Construction shares. We need this commitment not only for the viability of the project but also to get on with the tendering process for the scheme construction,” said CEO, Derek Crombie.

The offer to existing shareholders is for 20,000 Stage I Construction Shares at an issue price of $1750 per share and 40,000 Stage II & III Pre-Construction Shares at an issue price of $200 per share. As well as the 18,000ha for Stage I, CPWL needs commitment for 26,000ha of Stage II & III

“The scheme will become an anchor project for central Canterbury with the ability to generate long term economic and employment benefits. It will be as important as the anchor projects proposed for the central city.

“Irrigated farmland, on average, generates three times the production of an equivalent area farmed under dryland systems with one third of the wealth and employment created
from irrigation occurring on farm and the other two thirds spread through the rural and city communities,” he said.

An economic impact report said that the CPW scheme, when fully operational, will generate approximately $1 billion to $1.4 billion per annum. Direct and indirect employment is estimated to increase by about 1130 jobs with a further 7614 jobs coming from processing, transport and related off-farm activity. Construction is expected to generate 818 direct jobs and 1777 indirect jobs.

“If Stage I farmers don't commit before 5pm on October 31, this once in a lifetime opportunity will be missed. We understand the complexities around the decision making, but the reality is that if they don’t commit now we will struggle to keep the project going. We can only build the pipeline for committed demand, not for future expected capacity.

“We are confident of a positive outcome and to ensure that the project is kept on track, CPWL has called tenders this week for the 100km of trenching and 130km of piping required for Stage I. “Tenders for the Stage I pipeline close on December 3 while tenders for the headrace will be called in November and close on December 17. Construction is programmed to start in February 2014 following the award of tenders.

“We have been holding a series of shareholder one-on-one drop in sessions over the last few weeks which have been very well attended. The impending deadline has certainly focused many to the fact that the scheme is a reality, it is upon us, and they have to commit now for the future,” he said.

The entire scheme, which all going to plan will be completed by September 2018, includes a 56-kilometre canal across the Canterbury Plains between the Rakaia and Waimakariri River’s and over 500 kilometres of underground pipes.

Annual General Meeting

CPWL held its AGM on October 17 and all three board members who were standing for re-election were voted in. They are Willie Palmer, Geoff Stevenson and Paul Munro.

Planned scheme timetable

Stage 1 - 23,000 Ha Te Pirita and Sheffield. Construction February 2014 to September 2015.
Stage 2 - 10,000 Ha Hororata - Greendale – Burnham. Construction Sept 2015 to Sept 2016.
Stage 3 - 27,000 Ha Coalgate - Darfield - Kirwee – Waimakariri. Sept 2016 to Sept 2018.

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