Public to be consulted on proposed loan for Ruataniwha dam alternative

3:51 pm on 4 March 2019

Central Hawke's Bay residents are to have their say on whether a water holdings company should be loaned $250,000 to research an alternative to the failed Ruataniwha dam scheme.

Ruataniwha Dam

Water Holdings CHB Limited is seeking a loan to research options to the failed Ruataniwha dam scheme. Photo: SUPPLIED / Isthmus Group

The district council has voted to include a proposal in its annual plan, to supply a $250,000 loan to Water Holdings Central Hawke's Bay, to investigate water options for the area.

The regional council spent several years and $20 million trying to get the dam scheme over the line before the Supreme Court ruled in 2017 it could not flood a large parcel of conservation land.

Water Holdings CHB Limited has since bought the assets and intellectual property associated with the scheme for $100,000.

Now it would like a loan to research other options.

CHB Water Holdings shareholder Hugh Ritchie said although the previous water scheme has been scrapped, water security problems remain.

"The issue of summer secure water hasn't gone away and with the increasing low flows, that's actually made it even more difficult for some businesses and there's some urban business that could potentially be without water for significant periods, which effectively means those businesses are non-viable," he said.

Mr Ritchie said any option will have to greater environmental benefits than last time.

Public consultation will take place from 18 March to 12 April.

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