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18 May 2018

Nelson allocates funding for Waimea Dam project

Nelson City Council has agreed to allocate $5 million to the Waimea Dam project, in Year 3 of its 2018-28 Long Term Plan. This grant is conditional on agreement by Tasman District Council for the continuation of Nelson’s ongoing rights to access 22,000m3/day of water from the Waimea Aquifer and the opportunity for the grant to be transferred to a shareholding in the Dam Company.

Water supply to Nelson residents and businesses in the Saxton area is currently supplied by Tasman District Council. The remainder of the city is supplied from the Nelson water treatment plant.

The Council was satisfied by modelling work, that modifications could be made to the Nelson water supply system to develop a wholly independent supply for Nelson. This would meet water demands for the foreseeable future. However, the Council saw value in there being a reliable alternative supply of water for resilience purposes in the event of damage to its infrastructure from natural hazards, or from impacts from climate change.

Strong evidence of the economic benefit to the city and wider Nelson-Tasman region was also considered important.

NRDA Chief Executive Mark Rawson highlighted the cross-sector impacts. “Currently there are 21 other industries in the region that are directly impacted by the horticultural sector. This project will have a significant positive economic impact on these sectors including the port, manufacturing, and transport, as well as providing improved employment opportunities for the region as a whole.”

Mayor Rachel Reese outlined how this project benefited Nelsonians “We understand that water security is a major issue for our region’s primary producers, and the related industries, many of which operate or are supported by businesses here in Nelson City. A secure water supply allows for certainty of investment and greater opportunity for increased productivity. This is an integrated project, what happens on the Waimea Plains has a direct impact on Nelson City.

“As we grow as a region, security of water supply will benefit us all."