17 Oct 2014

Abandon planned dam, says economist

8:03 am on 17 October 2014

An economist says the proposed Ruataniwha dam is a lemon and farmers and the Hawke's Bay authorities should bail out of the irrigation scheme while they still can.

The proposed Ruataniwha dam site.

The proposed Ruataniwha dam site. Photo: SUPPLIED

Peter Fraser an economist with Ropere Consulting has written a report that he said showed the controversial water storage scheme just did not stack up financially.

Mr Fraser said arguments about nutrients in the catchment were a red herring and the simple story was there was not enough cashflow from the dam to sustain the investment given the cost of the dam.

He said the report compared this project with the Clyde high dam, which began being built in the 1980's and was not finished until the 1990s and is now seen as a disastrous project.

"And there's actually quite a few similarities between the projects and one of the things that I think the current proponents of the dam could learn from, and that's learn from Clyde, is that Clyde had a number of major off-ramps where they could have pulled out of building the dam before they were committed to a point where they just had to keep on spending money," he said.

"So there are off ramps and I think they need to take those off ramps and I think they need to abandon the project."

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