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Tarras Water Project one step closer

Media Release from Tarras Water Ltd
April 15 2013
Tarras Water Project one step closer

The developers of the Tarras water project have come a step closer to giving the scheme the ‘green light’ following a hugely supportive shareholders’ meeting.

The six resolutions that will enable Tarras Water Limited to issue its upcoming prospectus were voted on and overwhelmingly approved by 95% of shareholders and proxies attending the Special General Meeting on Friday evening (April 12 2013) at the Tarras Community Hall.

The company now intends to issue a prospectus within the next week.

Tarras Water Ltd chairman Peter Jolly said it was “an absolute thrill” to have such a strong endorsement from shareholders, who were now looking forward to a positive future for their community.

“The mood at the meeting and the social gathering afterwards was one of great positivity and optimism,” he said.

“It’s a hugely important development for the wider Tarras community to know that the project’s well and truly on track.

“It will be a catalyst for farmers who can now develop their businesses with a huge degree of certainty, enabling them to create a future for the next generation.

“That in turn could result in up to another 30 families in the district, filling the school and ensuring that the shop, the golf club and the social infrastructure of the area remains viable.”

The two principal resolutions at the meeting agreed that the company could enter into a fixed price contract for construction of the scheme, and that it could enter into a $27m bank facility agreement that has been confirmed in unconditional terms.

The scheme is designed to irrigate 5,999 hectares with 100% reliable irrigation drawn from the Clutha River.

Capital construction costs are set at $37.3m with a capital structure of 70% debt and 30% equity.

The directors of the project have been working on it for the past six years, and said they were “extremely well-prepared” for the launch of the prospectus.

“We have already done all the major design and engineering work, spending $1.5m on getting to the point where we have the contract locked down and the full support of project engineers,” said Mr Jolly.

John Leatherbarrow, of Tarras Water Limited’s project engineers Opus International Consultants, has praised the board for its work in ensuring that the scheme had advanced to a stage that it was at a point of “near certainty” in terms of design and cost.

“This is unusual for an infrastructure scheme in general and possibly unique when compared to other contemporary irrigation schemes,” he said. “The positive outcome is a reflection of the dedication of the board and the entire project team.”

Mr Jolly said the design of the scheme was “meticulous” in delivering water to areas that were commercially irrigable, and had been incredibly well-researched.

“There isn’t a place anywhere else in New Zealand more appropriately able to be irrigated,” he said.

Mr Jolly reiterated that the Department of Conservation and Fish & Game Otago had spoken in favour of the Tarras water project at the water permit hearing.

“We have also worked extremely closely with the Otago Regional Council every step of the way -- a series of workshops were held during last winter in which details of a proposed dry shareholding were worked through,” he said.

“The project has been supported by these agencies because it will take just one percent of the summer water flow out of the Clutha River, so having the potential to leave more water in the over-allocated Lindis River, which normally runs dry during summer.

“This project enables water to be left in the Lindis River, which will be a great environmental outcome for both locals and the wider public.”


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