26 Sep 2012

Water project envisages ecological survey

7:22 am on 26 September 2012

A large scale water storage project in central Hawke's Bay is a step further towards delivering to farmers.

After three years and nearly $5 million, a final feasibility study on the Ruataniwha Project will be presented to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council on Wednesday.

The project involves building five dams on the Makaroro River to provide irrigation water for 25,000 hectares of farmland.

The study shows the $220 million project is economically feasible and could boost the region's gross domestic product by 4% a year and increase employment by 3.5%.

However, the study says it could also cause the permanent loss of native plants and wildlife and has suggested a two-year survey to pinpoint populations before construction starts.

The council will consult stakeholders and the community before making a decision.