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Joint funding in place for water security

Masterton and Carterton District Councils will jointly fund the first steps of a new project to provide greater water security in an expanding business area.

The bulk of the finance for the work, $1.75 million, was approved in August from the $200 million central government regional strategic partnership fund set up to support regional development.

At council meetings on Wednesday, both Masterton District Council [MDC] and Carterton District Council [CDC] agreed to fund initial work to look at a new water process project at Waingawa.

The proposal involves establishing a bore and additional water storage on land adjacent to the Waingawa industrial park in Carterton district.

The park is a key heavy industrial area for Wairarapa and is forecast to grow by up to 60 sites in the future. It relies heavily on a commercial water supply from the Waingawa River via Masterton’s municipal water supply.

This single water supply means businesses are at risk of having work interrupted if restrictions are applied.

During low river flow in the Waingawa River, the intake for Masterton’s urban water supply may need to be restricted to residential use only, meaning those businesses face down-scaling operations, a report to MDC said.

Finding an alternative water source for affected businesses would offer a medium-term solution to reduce the risk of water restrictions during times of drought or low river flow, it said.

CDC chief executive Geoff Hamilton told the Carterton meeting the work will be incremental, with an evaluation needed before a decision is made.

“Our thinking is we go away, we do the detailed design, and then we bring that back to council. We view this as a series of constant updates and information and approvals as we go through this,” Hamilton said.

“We view this as approval to go to the next gate rather than approval to completely build.”

At the Wednesday meeting, CDC approved up to $500,000 for the work, of which $102,000 will be funded from Waingawa Water Reserves, and the balance funded with a loan. MDC agreed to loan fund the project up to $250,000, on terms that do not disadvantage Masterton ratepayers.

The initial cost estimate of $2,500,000 will cover high-level design, detailed design, and tender processes that will confirm the final cost estimates.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty, Carterton mayor Ron Mark, and Masterton mayor Gary Caffell have welcomed the project.

McAnulty said he has pushed for investment in the region and the grant is a win for Wairarapa.

“This investment should give businesses the confidence to invest more into our region and give the existing companies confidence in their future within Wairarapa,” he said.

“We want to see sustainable growth that directly benefits the local community. This investment will help with resilience and business confidence, and I’m stoked that Carterton, Masterton, and Wairarapa will benefit.”

Mark said CDC is proud to back a critical water project.

“This is a fantastic partnership between Carterton, Masterton, and central government, which will bring benefits to the whole of Wairarapa,” he said.

“This project ticks so many boxes and will futureproof a key economic area of our region, which is why our council has committed to partial funding.

“It’s environmentally sustainable, it encourages growth in the Waingawa industrial area, and supports appropriate use of a water resource by taking from a deep water bore as opposed to the treated urban water drinking supply.”

Caffell said he appreciates the careful approach CDC is taking.

“We see it as beneficial because it would reduce demand from industrial users, which helps preserve drinking water for Masterton residents in times of potential water restrictions,” he said.

“It is good to be working with CDC on this and it shows councils can work well together. This project has benefits for Carterton, Masterton, and the whole Wairarapa.”

The proposal includes the establishment of a 50-metre water bore and the re-establishment of existing water storage facilities, including one million litre and 400,000 litre storage tanks, and some existing pipework, on land adjacent to the industrial park owned by CDC.

Waingawa Industrial Park has been developed over a number of years. The additional 60 sites next to the established industrial park are currently being marketed.

The proposal to increase water security could benefit new and existing businesses which require greater certainty around supply. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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