2 Nov 2015

Council falling short of signed Ruataniwha Dam contracts

1:53 pm on 2 November 2015

The number of farmers who have signed contracts to buy water from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam has risen by about 25 percent in the past six weeks says the Hawke's Bay Regional Council's Investment Company HBRIC, but still more are required to make construction viable.

The Ruataniwha Plains which would be irrigated by the dam.

The Ruataniwha Plains which would be irrigated by the dam. Photo: RNZ / Peter Fowler

HBRIC has been encouraging farmers to sign up by 11 November, so the board can work towards getting a close of business by the end of the year.

With ten days to go, HBRIC water storage scheme commercial manager Duncan McLeod said about 25 million cubic metres of water had now been sold of the minimum of 45 million required to make construction viable.

But Mr McLeod said contracts had been requested for another 13 million cubic metres of water, which would take the total to about 38 million.

"So we still have enough people interested in water. We've got 175 properties who have decided at this stage they won't be contracting water from the Ruataniwha scheme. A lot of them don't intend being on the land in the next five or ten years and our current timeline would see water delivered in October 2019 so thats still four years away.

"So that's the most common reason. If we've got 38 million cubes of people saying they are interested and we are looking for a figure of 45 million, then I don't think we are too far away from that."