Wairarapa’s Water Resilience Strategy and Wakamoekau community water storage scheme secures over $7m
Media Statement 15 January 2020
An announcement from Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau today of over $7m in Provincial Growth Fund [PGF] funding will see Wairarapa’s much needed Water Resilience Strategy and the Wakamoekau storage scheme progress to the next stage.
The PGF funding consists of $7m towards the Wakamoekau Community Storage Scheme and $110,000 towards the Water Resilience Strategy. This follows an earlier funding announcement in May 2019 of $800,000 towards the storage project which allowed for initial community engagement, consent planning and further fund raising. Today’s funding announcement means that the project can now progress with the work required to complete feasibility studies, lodge a resource consent application and prepare for construction to start. The storage project, when ultimately constructed, will help reach the goal of providing a resilience of freshwater supply to Wairarapa.
Chair of Wairarapa Water Ltd, Tim Lusk, is excited the projects have received the additional funding from the PGF.
“The announcement today now puts Wairarapa Water Limited in a strong financial position to finalise the community water storage project development phases to meet the high expectations of our Wairarapa communities and businesses,” Tim Lusk said.
“This very considerable funding by the PGF means we can now engage comprehensively with landowners, Iwi, councils, businesses and the wider community, knowing we have the means to conclude together just what it must look and operate like before we move into construction, which all going well will be in 2023.
“The target must be stored water available in 2026.”
The need for the Water Resilience Strategy has primarily emerged out of the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy (WEDS), which positions freshwater supply in the context of community resilience rather than solely rural irrigation. Providing certainty to businesses around water availability will ensure Wairarapa is seen as a viable base for value added food production and can attract business investment.
The development of the Strategy will provide an overarching framework for resilient and environmentally sustainable water use that is supported by everyone in Wairarapa. The funding, supported by Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa-Tamaki Nui a Rua Settlement Trust and Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust, will allow WEDS to collaborate with the people of Wairarapa commencing immediately to develop a strategy to prepare the region for the impact of climate change and at the same time make the necessary changes to drivers of the economy that arise from this. The strategy aims to continue to grow the economy through a time of change and to create jobs to keep pace with population growth of the region.
Moving forward with the strategy is an important stage in the development of an augmented fresh water supply for the part of the Wairarapa in the Ruamāhanga Catchment. The brief acknowledges that augmentation can be the result of different strategies including water use efficiency, ‘water slowing’, various types of water storage or retention and carefully calibrated use that balances economic requirements with environmental standards agreed by the whole community. The strategy will address all areas of community interaction with water – urban, rural, farming and business. The urgency of the work was also highlighted in climate change projections for Wairarapa and the recent recommendations of the Ruamahanga Whaitua process.
“The development of a Wairarapa Water Resilience Strategy is crucial for the future water needs of our region,” said Dame Margaret Bazley, Chair of the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy Governance Group.
“All water users in Wairarapa need to be aware of the need for a water strategy to ensure the continuous supply going forward.”
“I can’t emphasise enough the importance water resilience holds for everyone in our community and a high priority is to ensure the continuity of the urban water supply.”