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Waimea Community Dam Proposals Open for Consultation

October 20th, 2017

The annual cost of the Waimea Community Dam would peak at $29 for just over half (51%) of Tasman District's 24,000 ratepayers, under a proposal out for consultation from Saturday.

The effect on rates and water bills for the remaining 49% of Tasman District's ratepayers would depend on where they live, and whether they are connected to a Council water supply - but would typically be less than $160 a year.

Proposals for the ownership and governance of the dam, and for funding the Tasman District Council's share of the dam costs ($26.8 million in capital and an estimated $715,000 a year operating expenses) are open for public consultation from 21 October to 26 November 2017.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne urged Tasman residents to take the opportunity to learn more about the options and make a submission.

Mayor Kempthorne said the proposals aimed to take into account both direct benefits from the dam (the ability to draw water without the need for water restrictions except in one-in-60-year drought conditions) and indirect environmental and community benefits (such as higher Waimea River flows for improved ecosystem health, and more jobs, wealth and opportunity for the region).

"Everyone in the region will benefit to some degree, while those living in the areas served directly by the dam and closest to greater recreational and employment opportunities will gain the most. The proposals recognise that through targeted rates."

Mayor Kempthorne said the dam was the preferred option for providing a secure water supply for urban needs, environmental enhancement and irrigation use. It was the lowest-cost option for ratepayers, and the most practical option for providing enough water in summer for both urban and rural homes and businesses.

"It's also the only option that boosts flows in the Waimea River, which we must do to improve the river's health and achieve national freshwater standards."

If the project proceeds, the $75.9m capital cost would be shared by the Council, Waimea Irrigators Limited (WIL), Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd (via loan funding), a Freshwater Improvement Fund grant, and Nelson City Council (subject to a separate consultation with Nelson residents).

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