The Waimea Community Dam has even more financial certainty today following the commitment of Waimea Plains landowners to purchase more than 3,000 water shares – raising $16.5 million of equity – in the initial public offering of Waimea Irrigators Limited.
Waimea Irrigators Limited (WIL) and Tasman District Council (TDC) are proposing to build the Dam as a long-term water augmentation solution for irrigators and urban residents. To fund part of their portion of the Dam, WIL opened an offer to purchase water shares on 8 February to raise at least $16.5 million. By successfully raising this capital, WIL has passed the major hurdle to access low-cost debt funding through Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) to make their total contribution to the project $38.6 million.
WIL Chair Murray King says reaching this milestone means the silent majority of landowners on the Waimea Plains have made their voices heard.
“It has been nearly 20 years since irrigators first started talking about a solution to our acute water shortages and here we are today with one in reach,” Mr King says. “I’d like to thank each and every one of them for meeting the challenge.
“After the Government confirmed its funding commitment through CIIL to the Dam project last week, I feel very proud that my fellow irrigators can say we are doing our part for regional water security.”
Although WIL extended the application close from 22 March to 12 April, Mr King says the vast majority of applications rushed in over the final week before the original March closing date. Throughout the offer period, many applications for water shares equalled or exceeded the numbers landowners claimed they would purchase in the expressions of interest survey from early 2017.
“That was a clear indicator we were going to succeed,” Mr King says. “Some people applied for more shares than they told us they would in the survey, which was a nice surprise and showed the importance they place on the project’s success. I think the Dam started feeling very real and these folks decided now was time to step up.”
There are several remaining steps in the process before the Waimea Community Dam project can proceed. Both Tasman District and Nelson City Councils need to finalise their long term plans by the end of June, which include proposed funding for the Dam. Also, the Early Contractor Involvement process is currently underway to determine an updated and final project estimate before June