1 October, 2019
Project building momentum with CEO appointment
The company that has taken over the work by Greater Wellington Regional Council into water storage options in Wairarapa has reached another milestone with the appointment of a chief executive officer.
Robyn Wells has taken up the reigns of Wairarapa Water Limited (WWL) as momentum builds to turn the Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme project (the Scheme) into a reality.
Robyn brings proven national and international leadership experience to the role, including a long and successful stint as CEO for North Otago Irrigation Company Limited (NOIC). She has had more than ten years’ experience working in senior management positions in the USA and Australia, primarily in the cooperative-based renewable fuels industry.
Confirmation of Robyn’s appointment follows a recent government funded independent report which endorsed the commercial viability of the Scheme.
“That report, the commitment shown by Central and Local Government, and the growing concerns about the effects of climate change on the Wairarapa has been a catalyst for WWL to reach the point that they have the confidence to engage a CEO,” said Tim Lusk, Chair of WWL.
“It is an important milestone that has been reached by WWL as we move quickly to progress this storage and distribution project that has now got real momentum.”
“The Board is thrilled to have attracted a person of Robyn’s experience and strong connection to the Wairarapa to the position,” he said.
“After taking the difficult but timely step of passing on the leadership of NOIC to a new management team this last May after almost nine years at the helm, I was searching for the next challenge and the WWL opportunity really resonated for me as I have a strong connection to the Wairarapa having grown up here” explains Robyn.
The Company has government funding to develop the project, (through the Provincial Growth Fund), due to its broad community appeal and potential benefits for many sections of the Wairarapa community.
The Scheme has the potential to address urban, environmental, industrial and food and fibre production security of water supply needs due to climate change pressures and rising environmental standards.
Ms. Wells says the next key milestone is to secure a level of private funding from the beneficiaries of the scheme to ensure access to the next tier of government funding.
“Through the PGF process there is significant Central Government funding available, but it is on the condition that the potential beneficiaries step up with some of their own funding.”
“Another early priority is to work with landowners, Iwi, Councils and Water Users to confirm how best to integrate water storage into as full a range of needs in the Ruamahunga Valley as possible.
Depending on the level of funding achieved, consenting and procurement could kick off in the latter half of 2020 with construction starting in 2022.