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Water storage project gaining wider support


The development of a Wairarapa community water storage scheme has achieved a significant boost with early financial backing from farmers and industrial water users.

Late last year Wairarapa Water Limited (WWL) invited water users to make a contribution to fund further feasibility work on the Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme (WCWSS).

The support received exceeded the targeted $160,000, a pre-Christmas shot in the arm for the project.

WWL chief executive Robyn Wells says the breadth of support is the strongest indication yet that the community is behind the scheme.

“We are very grateful for the support that has come from a wide range of existing and potential water users and associated businesses which we believe is growing evidence that this is a truly community scheme,” Ms. Wells says.

The funding target is in addition to $140,000 from local and regional councils already committed in their Annual Plans.

“There are still many more potential beneficiaries to meet with, but hitting this goal has allowed us to have the confidence to have those discussions and to continue to make sure that we are involving and talking to the wider community.”

Ms. Wells says the early indications of interest from water users is also helping to identify where the demand for water is, which will build important knowledge to ensure optimisation in the design of the scheme.

WCWSS consists of a reservoir in the hills north-west of Masterton, with a holding capacity of up to 19 million cubic metres of water and supplying about 28 million cubic metres a year. The reservoir will store water when it is not required in winter to distribute it in the months when it is required. For example, stored water could be put back in the river and lakes during the summer months to maintain river flow and lake water levels and support recreational use of these resources for the community.

“This is the third milestone we have hit in as many months,” explained Chair of WWL Tim Lusk.

“The independent review that confirmed that the project was viable, the appointment of a CEO in late September, and now the exceptional monetary support we have had demonstrated by the community is really giving us confidence that the various components of this important initiative for the Wairarapa are falling into place.

“We are looking forward to what the coming months will bring as we continue our investigations and widen those discussions,” he says.

WWL already has government support to develop the project, through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), due to its broad community appeal and potential benefits for many sections of the Wairarapa community.

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