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Ruataniwha Water Scheme Stepping Up

Media Release
6 March 2013
Ruataniwha Water Scheme Stepping Up

A number of elements for the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme are being worked on in tandem to prepare for potential construction and investment in the scheme.

The scheme is yet to secure resource consents, however it is necessary to line up companies who may be interested in construction. Last month Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) Ltd called for Expressions of Interest from companies potentially interested in tendering for the construction of the proposed dam for the project. It is expected that HBRIC will choose two companies to move to the next phase of design and planning by the end of March.

Expressions of Interest are also being called from farmers who would like to be part of the scheme. Farmer commitment to sign up for water supply will be essential. From now until August, farmers are being encouraged to sign a non-binding memorandum of understanding expressing their interest in the scheme. HBRIC Ltd is also in the process of developing a package for farmers to potentially invest in the scheme.

A number of field days have been held, or are yet to be held, for farmers who may be considering being part of the scheme. Each field day has had a focus - arable farming, beef & sheep and dairy - and these have been popular with farmers as they can have more detailed discussions about the proposals.

HBRIC Ltd and BNZ Advisory are considering a Build, Operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) approach to encourage investors. Under this structure, investors would buy into the scheme and receive set returns for an agreed number of years, between 35-70 years, after which the scheme would be transferred back to HBRC ownership.

At this stage of modelling for the project the price of water is estimated at between 22 – 25 cents per cubic metre in today’s dollars. A more accurate price will be available in September when design and construction costs have been finalised. Discount options are being developed for farmers who commit to the scheme early on.

HBRIC Ltd will apply for 18 different consents to develop the scheme and currently 34 separate supporting reports are being finalised. If granted consent, the scheme will operate within the framework of the Tukituki Plan Change 6 and in accordance with sound environmental practice.

The Tukituki Plan Change 6 was adopted last week by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. This sets new rules for managing water and land in the catchment and setting limits on nitrogen and phosphorus in the Tukituki River and is required under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. While the plan change allows for a storage/irrigation scheme, it is not dependent on the scheme to achieve the targets set. The plan change is scheduled to be notified on 4 May when submissions will be called for.


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