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The Wai-iti Valley is located in the northern region of New Zealand’s South Island. Water demand during summer in the Wai-iti Valley is greater than the available supply, resulting in water allocation restrictions and pressure on in-stream habitat and uses. Further, the summer water resource in the Wai-iti Catchment is currently over-allocated. Thus, since the mid 1980s, Tasman District Council (TDC) has been unable to grant new water permits to take water from either rivers or
groundwater in the Wai-iti Catchment. Existing water permit quotas have been reduced where they were not being used, but despite this agricultural, horticultural and domestic use is frequently restricted during dry years.Learn more
Recently, the need for a community solution was identified for the Wai-iti Valley area. The Wai-iti Water Augmentation Committee (comprising representatives from the local community and TDC) was set up in 1995 to find the best option for the northernmost extent of the Wai-iti valley. A feasibility study for a community dam was completed in 2001 identifying small off-river storage dams as options. The proposed scheme is located in a tributary of the Wai-iti River and is essentially a water harvesting project where winter flows in the stream would be impounded and stored, and gradually released on a regular basis back into the stream and Wai-iti River system during dry summer periods.
The paper will cover the project’s economic objectives as well as community and environmental impacts and the consenting process under the Resource Management Act. Dam construction is planned to start in October 2004.
Joseph Thomas, Peter Thomson, John Grimston, Sally Marx
The Waimea Basin is located in the South Island of New Zealand. The area has an acute water shortage with recent studies showing the water resources to be over-allocated by 22% for a 1 in 10 year drought security. The current area irrigated is about 3,700 ha and there is additional productive land that could potentially be irrigated if more water were available. Water users have suffered severe restrictions on their water use over recent years through drought management measures imposed to meet critical environmental flow requirements and coastal salinity buffering. This has caused significant production cutbacks for irrigated crops resulting in regional economic loss, affected major urban water supplies resulting in water supply cut-backs affecting domestic and industrial users and also affecting the important environmental values of the Wairoa/Waimea Rivers and the coastal springs that are highly valued by the community and local iwi (Maori).
The principal objective of this project is to carry out a study into the feasibility of water storage in the upper parts of the catchment for enhancing water availability for both consumptive and environmental/community/ aesthetic benefits downstream. The outcome from this feasibility study will provide the community with the necessary information to make an informed decision on proceeding with potential storage options. The Waimea Water Augmentation Committee is overseeing this feasibility study. The study will be completed byJune 2007.
The Waimea Plains area is also quite unique as to the interest and values relating to the water resource as it has multi stakeholder interest. Being close to urban centres, the water resource not only caters for irrigation use but also public water supplies as well as recreational, community interest and cultural values.
This paper sets out the project’s aim, general methodology being followed, and summarises the progress to June 2005.Learn more