21 Jul 2014

Farmers 'interested' in water scheme

7:41 am on 21 July 2014

The company driving the proposed Ruataniwha water storage scheme says the Board of Inquiry's final decision has created a workable consent and now farmers are eager to sign up to take water.

There were concerns following the board's draft report that the Tukituki River wouldn't have been able to take more pollution from intensive agriculture.

But Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company chief executive Andrew Newman said now the final decision was out farmers knew the scheme could proceed.

"We're reasonably well advanced on the contractual arrangements. We need to have a minimum of 40 million cubic metres of water. We'll probably be a lot more explicit about exactly where we're at with that process when we're closer to the target. But at this stage I've got a team of people working their way across a number of conversations with quite a number of farmers."

Mr Newman said the investment company was also in discussions with two possible new large-scale investors in the $600 million dam.

Last week, Forest and Bird and Fish and Game lodged legal appeals against the Board of Inquiry decision.