Finding ways to improve quality and availability of domestic water supply in the area.

Comment: "Why should 23,000 ratepayers fund an $80 million dam for the sole benefit of 40 people?"

In his own submission to the current Waimea Dam consultation, local resident John Clifton presents his thoughts on what he thinks unfair and inequitable distribution of cost versus benefit in the current funding models.

His point is that by far the largest share of water is used by a relatively small number of commercial irrigators. As an alternative he suggests the introduction of a volume-related pricing structure for irrigation water which would:

  • Encourage conservation and collection of water.
  • Maintain higher river flow levels throughout the year.
  • Reduce water consumption in the Waimea district.
  • Reduce ground water and aquifer pollution.
  • Rebalance land values on the Waimea plain.
  • Allow a rational debate on whether a dam is really required.

Read John's full submission here.

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Waimea Dam: Our Submission To Funding and Governance Consultation

MHRA has issued a submission to the current consultation phase of the proposed Waimea Dam project.

We have focused on our objective to act as channel of communication between the community and TDC and have compiled feedback and concerns about the current proposal which we will present to council. In this submission we have used data from the initial results of our currently running survey on water supply.

"The MHRA submits that there are significant concerns among residents of the Moutere Hills area
about either funding model and the projected rates increase implied thereby, as well as about the
overall affordability of the dam and what is seen as uneven distribution of benefit. [...]

We submit that Council further investigate the level of popular support for the dam project, the
ability of the population to afford rates increases, and review the proposed funding models
accordingly in order to achieve a proposal with no or significantly reduced general rates impact. [...]"

Read the full submission here.

Waimea Dam: Do we really need 30% for Environmental Flow?

More thoughts on the Waimea Dam funding: extracts from a submission to Tasman District Council by Dr. Christopher R. Bennett, who has spent some time delving into the economic reports on the dam funding proposals. Chris says:

From the material I have reviewed it appears that the proposed funding model for the Lee Valley Dam is predicated on a several key decisions which result in a larger, more expensive dam than is required. These decisions have been made on what seem to be sound technical and environmental advice, but have been made in isolation from: (i) the ability and willingness to pay by those expected to fund the dam; and, (ii) the economic and social benefits arising from the decisions.

Chris is suggesting that TDC should:

  • undertake a study for ratepayer support for the project - thus determine affordability - and finally adjust he dam's design accordingly
  • reduce the design flow for 'environmental capacity' which would substantially reduce the cost of the dam
  • improve the management of water rights for future and potentially existing users


Take Our Water Supply Survey!

The Moutere Hills Residents Association is polling its members and the community to produce a submission to the first consultation phase of the proposed Waimea Dam - and to find out which alternatives for improving water supply to the area best match the needs and interests of local residents.

This online survey only takes about two minutes to complete and all residents of the Moutere catchment should have their say. We need your feedback - this is how you can influence the future of the district!

Waimea Dam - Economic Reports From TDC

For those who want more details on the proposed Waimea Dam there are now new reports available through TDC.

The Waimea Dam Economic Assessment report by commissioned by the regional Economic Development Agency is available from the EDA website.

Mayor Kempthorne says: "This report provides the economic rationale and benefits available through its construction."

"The Council acknowledges the report focuses on the economic future of the area and is primarily focused on the horticulture sector as one would expect of a report commissioned by the EDA. However, the link between a sustainable economy and social and community needs is very clear."

"What this report does not cover is the issue of affordability for Tasman ratepayers. Significant external contributions by Central Government and our local government partners are critical to providing an affordable financial model for constructing the dam."

Full news item at TDC website.

Also now available: commissioned from NZIER the report ‘How to pay for a dam’ investigates the public and private benefits derived from the dam and the options the Council has to finance it as a result.

This report is available here.

Just how dry will this next summer be?

An Update on Water Supply in the Moutere Hills Area (and the Waimea Dam)

Since the public meeting organised by the MHRA in April we have spent some time piecing together the factors affecting the provision of a potable water supply for the residents of the Dovedale and Upper Moutere area. This included meeting with a representative of TDC engineering department and with the chair of the present Dovedale Water Committee, and collecting information from the TDC website.

Water supply on the Dovedale Scheme has become somewhat more reliable as faulty sections have been replaced, but the water quality remains below standard and worsens over summer as intake reduces and water is taken from a lower outlet. A permanent "boil water notice" continues to be in place. TDC has not yet produced a required Public Health Risk Management Plan for the scheme and says this "will be reviewed as part of the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan". The volume available from the present source cannot be increased, and the scheme is seen as slowly amassing more debt.

Plans exist at TDC for supplying water to the Dovedale scheme from a new source in the Motueka river gravels near Woodstock to improve both quality and available quantity. However, any such plans have been postponed by TDC with a new "placeholder" date of 2026. There is no certainty of this date being any more reliable than the previously announced 2016 date. TDC claim that the $1.6 million dollars estimated to get a new source and treatment station and fix the supply pipes was seen as too high a price to be carried by the people serviced by the present scheme.

One of the problems preventing us moving forward is that focus has been on the existing Dovedale Scheme rather than on actual number of households (potential users) in the distribution area. Our Water Supply Survey is part of our effort to establish a better view of the demand in the distribution area.


TDC: Proposed Waimea Dam Consultation

We are forwarding this news item from the TDC website. The proposed dam will affect all ratepayers in the district, whether they will actually get any water from the dam or not.

A special consultative process related to the proposed Waimea Community Dam will begin this Monday (13 October).  Closing on 14 November, the Tasman District Council is consulting with ratepayers and residents on the proposed funding and governance options for the dam.

A Statement of Proposal and Summary of Information was adopted at today’s Council meeting. This set out the Funding and Governance options with some information for context; and identifies Council’s preferred options. A decision whether or not to build the dam will be made in June next year. [...]

The Council has also created a dedicated website which will be turned on Monday 13th and provide information regarding this consultation and provide the history and technical material related to the proposed dam. The web address is

Public meetings and information sessions are being held throughout the District over the consultation period.

Mayor Kempthorne says “I urge all Tasman ratepayers and residents to take part in the funding and governance consultation.”

Read the full news item at the TDC website.

Upgrading the Moutere Hills Water Supply

Read here about the outcome of the Public Meeting on water supply on 16 April 2014 organised by the Moutere Hills Residents Association.

The purpose of the public meeting was to explore ways to provide a suitable potable water supply for residents of the inner Moutere Hills and valley. The well-attended meeting heard Tasman District Councillor Brian Ensor and TDC Engineer Joseph Thomas describe the history and shortcomings of the present Dovedale scheme, and the limitations of the Moutere Valley Aquifers.

Mike Eggers of the Braeburn Water Scheme covered the possibilities of basing a community scheme on either the Moutere Valley bores or the Motueka gravels at Pangatotora, using an existing bore.

Click below to read the full coverage.


Public Meeting on Water Supply

The Moutere Hills Residents Association invites all residents to attend a Public Meeting to discuss options for the future of the Water Supply servicing Upper Moutere and surrounding areas.

The main focus for this meeting will be to discuss options for the provision of a potable Water Supply for Moutere Hills Residents. We are expecting staff from the Tasman District Council to bring the meeting up to date on the limitations of the Dovedale Scheme, and possibilities for its upgrading or replacement.

Also addressing the meeting will be members of the Braeburn Water Scheme Committee to discuss the possibility of creating a new locally managed water scheme using bore water from the various aquifers under the Moutere Valley.

The issue is of importance to the community and this is an opportunity for residents to learn about the options available, and to influence the outcomes. If you have concerns about the quality and suitability of your existing supply, make sure you find the time to attend this meeting.

The meeting will be held Wednesday 16 April 2014 - 7:30 pm at the Moutere Hills Community Centre. Further details and updates will be available closer to the date.

A Moutere Water Supply?

This is for anybody living in the Moutere Valley, Braeburn, Gardner Valley, Harakeke who is concerned about sufficient and secure domestic water supply.

The Braeburn Water Scheme Committee (BWSC) previously formed in 2001 to apply for use of a locally available aquifer bore to create a reticulated water supply in the area is now about to re-form to address this issue again.

The existing bore had previously been sold by TDC to an adjacent landowner, preventing use by the public. But since a recent review of actual water use from this aquifer has shown that current allocations are not being used, the opportunity is now showing to create a new stock and domestic water scheme.

This will only happen if residents get involved. TDC has set a cut-off date for 11 March 2014 so time is short to secure this option.

If you are interested, join the group's meeting on 1 March 2014 at 10am at the Moutere Hills Community Centre.

For more details and contact information please have a look at this flyer.