Media Release 30 November 2018

Waimea Community Dam gets final green light

The Tasman District Council has confirmed the Waimea Community Dam will be built to provide for the growing needs of the community, safeguard the regional economy, and improve the health of the Waimea River.

On Friday 30 November the Council made its final decision on the project.  Voting 9-5 in favour it has confirmed its commitment to build the dam.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said: “This project will deliver a secure source of water for our community for the next 100 years. It will greatly improve the health of the Waimea River, which can’t sustain the demands we’re making of it at the moment. The benefits for our region are immense and will be felt by everyone who chooses to make Tasman their home for generations to come.”

Construction is due to begin in early 2019 and will be managed by the Council-Controlled Organisation set up to run the project, Waimea Water Ltd. Waimea Water is a joint venture between Tasman District Council and Waimea Irrigators Limited.

Some of the key drivers for the decision to proceed were:

  • The Council cannot meet its obligation to provide an urban water supply to homes and businesses in Richmond, Brightwater, Hope, Mapua and their rural extensions now and in the future without water storage on the scale the dam provides. Demand control measures cannot reduce demand from homes and businesses to the extent required if there is no dam.
  • The viable alternatives to the dam are more costly to ratepayers, don’t provide the same security against droughts, don’t provide for future increases in demand and don’t meet the Council’s legal obligations under the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management and the National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity. Some do not meet any of the issue’s needs.
  • The dam is the only option that solves all the water-supply challenges facing the Council and community in one piece of infrastructure – urban water supply needs, horticultural water supply needs and declining river health with associated environmental, cultural and recreational impacts.
  • For that reason it is the only option that attracts a significant amount of co-funding from other sources ($64 in direct funding and $18.7 million in concessional loans) – from irrigators, the Government and Nelson City Council.

About the Waimea Community Dam

  • A concrete faced rock wall dam in the upper Lee Valley
  • Holds 13.4 million cubic metres of water
  • Stores water from the upper reaches of the river. The dam operator can release water in a controlled way when river flows are low to enhance river health and recharge groundwater aquifers. There is no need for additional pipework or treatment infrastructure.
  • $105.8 million total project cost
  • Funded by Tasman District Council, Waimea Irrigators Limited, Crown Irrigation Investments Limited, Nelson City Council, Freshwater Improvement Fund grant.

Find out more

More information about the project can be found at www.tasman.govt.nz/link/waimea-dam(external link).

Download the press release: Directors appointed to Waimea Community Dam Company. (pdf, 431 KB)