Thursday, July 09, 2015

No customers for Ruataniwha

For the past couple of years the government and Hawke's Bay Regional Council have been pushing the Ruataniwha Dam and its associated irrigation scheme. The government has silenced dissent and gagged DoC in an effort to force the schem through, while HBRC has thrown money at it and is trying to pretend that recent resource consent restrictions which limit farm nitrogen output in the area don't mean anything. But meanwhile, farmers don't actually want to buy the water:

Farmers in the footprint of the proposed $600 million Ruataniwha water storage project in Hawke's Bay say they will not buy the water because it is too expensive and it would make their farms unprofitable.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council is developing the dam, which will hold 96 million m³, but for construction to begin it must pre-sell at least 40 million m³ of water.

But the chairman Fenton Wilson said the council's investment company HBRIC has sold only about half that amount.

Radio New Zealand News visited six farmers in area that will receive water from the proposed water storage scheme, and all said they were not signing up to buy the water because it was not financially viable.

None wanted to be named because they feared a backlash from the Central Hawke's Bay community for being perceived to be anti-dam. All supported water storage, but said the numbers did not stack up.

HBRC was warned that the dam was fundamentally uneconomic back in January, but kept on throwing cash at it. And its hard to escape the view that the entire thing has been a huge waste of ratepayer's money.