Water Storage Feasibility Decision due in September
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council will make a decision on whether to proceed to the next phase of the Ruataniwha Water Storage project in September.
A formal presentation will be made to the Council, combining input from staff, consultants, and the project’s Leadership and Stakeholder Groups – representing wide-ranging community views – who have helped to inform the feasibility phase of the project since January 2011.
The main aim of the project feasibility report is to collate a comprehensive base of information to assess the technical feasibility, environmental effects and economic viability of this national-scale water storage project. The dam is technically feasible, but the project also needs to comprehensively deal with environmental, capital raising and uptake risks before a decision is made.
If project feasibility is confirmed, the next steps are to consult widely with the community, prepare and lodge resource consent applications, consolidate uptake in the scheme, determine contract procurement options and raise capital to support the construction phase.
The Ruataniwha Water Storage project, although significant, is just one potential initiative to improve water flow and quality in the Tukituki River system. Using a system of integrated catchment management, HBRC is planning for the long term sustainability of the Tukituki catchment. A separate but strongly-related public document called “Tukituki Choices” is due to be released in September this year. “Tukituki Choices” will also clearly explain the options for future management of the Tukituki catchment.
TUKITUKI CULTURAL VALUES
To protect and enhance mauri
The report “Cultural Values and Uses of the Tukituki Catchment” (May 2012) contributes to the feasibility phase of the Ruataniwha project. This report summarises feedback from marae and hapū. It notes renewed interest in the Ruataniwha basin’s steeped genealogy, strong linkages to water and the river, the essence or mauri of the site and surrounds, related sacred historic sites, the significance of Maori language and treaty claims.
The findings emphasise the value of this river catchment from the source to the mouth – ki uta ki tai – and of taking an overall catchment management approach, inclusive of waste management. They highlight the involvement of iwi in both the upper and lower Tukituki areas, with hapū support for the survival and mauri of all things. The report stresses the enhancement and protection of environmental and cultural values, and is available on HBRC’s website, keyword: RUATANIWHA.
DAM DESIGN & FAST FACTS
• International design standards have been adopted, in response to the size, complexity and seismic requirements of this project
• Dam type would be a Concrete Face Rockfill Dam
• The dam height of 80 metres depth would contain 90 million cubic metres of water, with the ability to irrigate up to 30,000 hectares of land – it is anticipated that this would satisfy a range of land uses
• Irrigation would draw down the dam surface 10-26 metres, March to April; the dam would typically be full July/September
• Makaroro reservoir would have filled in 39 of the last 40 years
• All construction material available on-site
• Erosion, sediment, dust and noise control would be catered for
• Pressure at farm gate will vary and may require on-farm boosting
• 6.5 megawatts of power generated at base of dam
• Options are currently being considered for both canal and full piping distribution to the farm gate; the proposal includes a 37 kilometre headrace section and 121 kilometres of secondary distribution piping for delivering water, with some booster pumping.