September 22, 2019

Community wide water scheme viable

The development of a proposed community wide water scheme for Wairarapa is viable and essential for the region’s future, says a new report.

With funding from the government’s Provincial Growth Fund, Wairarapa Water Ltd (WWL) commissioned Wellington-based consultants Lewis Tucker Ltd to provide an independent view on the proposed Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme’s (WCWSS) commercial viability.

The Lewis Tucker Report updates earlier work by Greater Wellington Regional Council that looked at the Black Creek/Wakamoekau staged scheme, in the hills north-west of Masterton. The Report does not review environmental, cultural, social and economic impact which has been done recently by Greater Wellington Regional Council.

WWL took over the project from GWRC in June 2018 following completion of their investigations of water storage opportunities in the valley. WWL has since concentrated on the Wakamoekau site.

The Lewis Tucker Report peer reviews key aspects of the scheme. Based on confidence in both the underlying technical fundamentals of the proposed scheme and a positive resource consent pathway, and also clear evidence that there is demand for water, Lewis Tucker believe the WCWSS to be viable and state that there is a compelling case to advance the development of the scheme.

The Report notes that the status quo of Wairarapa’s water resources cannot be sustained, particularly given the increased demand for water due to climate change and environmental purposes.

Lewis Tucker’s findings align with the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy’s position that resilient access to freshwater is the most significant and immediate priority for the region.

The proposed WCWSS is a small-scale scheme which will provide water to multiple users across the Wairarapa, including agricultural, environmental, industrial and urban.

The Lewis Tucker Report recommends a 12 month program of work to reach a more accurate conclusion before a decision can be made to apply for consents, engage with construction contractors and negotiate water supply agreements.

Wairarapa Water Ltd Chair Tim Lusk says the report is a substantial piece of work by an independent advisor and a panel of subject matter experts.

“The report’s findings validate the previous work by GWRC and have strengthened the case for further work to be done on  the scheme.”

“WWL Board will now work with landowners, iwi, councils, water users, and other interested parties to plan and fund the next steps,” Mr Lusk says.

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