Waimea landowners urged to get in quick for dam share offering

Waimea landowners have expressed strong interest in purchasing shares in Waimea Irrigators Limited (WIL), a company established to advance the funding and construction of the Waimea Community Dam. The shares will be used to fund the minimum $15 million required from landowners towards the total cost of the dam.

Expressions of interest have so far been received for more than 80 percent of the minimum number of shares required for the dam project to proceed, following a survey sent to Waimea Plains’ landowners in February. However, WIL spokesperson John Palmer says they are not across the line yet.

“Although good progress has been made there is now real urgency to fill the gap to ensure that the project continues,” Mr Palmer says. “We know a number of intending share purchasers have not yet completed their survey forms. It is now critical for those landowners to complete and return their survey forms immediately.”

Survey forms need to be returned to Natasha Berkett at natasha@waterforlife.nz by the 10th of March at the latest.

Mr Palmer says those who are part of the share purchase scheme will be the only users guaranteed access to water during normal summers. He urges all landowners on the Waimea Plains to seriously consider the implications of not being part of the share purchase scheme.

“If the dam proceeds, water permit holders without shares in WIL will have very limited water availability in most seasons and a likely significant land value discount for their property, including smaller lifestyle properties,” he says. “That will have very serious economic consequences for the whole of Tasman District and will be very costly for all ratepayers as production and employment decline.”

It is not just about what will happen with existing water permits, he says. Landowners also need to consider the impact of the new Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP), which has very serious water implications for all Waimea landowners, including farmers, orchardists and lifestyle properties.

“Under the new plan, in a ‘no dam’ situation, all properties including urban water takes for Richmond, Brightwater, Redwood Valley and Mapua, will have reduced water permit allocations permanently and much more regular and severe water rationing.”

He says current water scheme participants in the dam zones will not be immune from the changes to the TRMP. Both the Waimea East and Redwoods Valley schemes will suffer the same restrictions as all other water users, Mr Palmer says.

WIL project manager Natasha Berkett has been fielding numerous calls from landowners seeking to clarify their situation, and is working hard to ensure people have the best possible understanding of the dramatic effect of the changes the TRMP will have.

“It’s critical that landowners understand the implications of the new plan and the reality of what will happen when the minimum river flows are significantly raised over the summer from 2018,” she says.

For more information please contact:
John Palmer
Strategic Advisor, Waimea Irrigators Limited
Phone: 021 331 432
Email: john@willisbrook.co.nz