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No water means no jobs

JNL’s mill in Waingawa. PHOTO/FILE

Lack of water would threaten future of JNL, says manager

BECKIE WILSON
[email protected]

“If there’s no water, there’s no jobs, it can’t be simpler than that,” Wairarapa’s Juken NZ Ltd mill manager Paul Jordan says.

The Waingawa-based forestry and wood processing mill, that employs 200 people, requires a significant amount of water to undergo its daily processing.

However, with water allocation restrictions and climate change effects coming into play, Mr Jordan said there were many future risks for the company.

The mill gets its water from the Masterton town supply.

But under the draft natural resources plan proposed by Greater Wellington Regional Council, it would be without water at times of low flow when the town’s take would be limited to that required to sustain human health.

That’s what’s driving Masterton District Council’s proposal to build a $5 million water storage dam in year six of its draft long-term plan.

MDC assets and operations manager David Hopman said if the council did not act on providing water storage, JNL’s water take would be “restricted”, though he said no water user would be “cut off” from taking water.

Mr Jordan said having water available was “a critical aspect to our operations”.

The mill’s main use of water is in the thermal energy centre – a boiler – and without water, the boiler cannot run, therefore the plant cannot operate, he said.

If new water restrictions were imposed during the summer months, commercial users such as JNL would be the first to take the hit, Mr Jordan said.

“Our industrial take comes from the town’s water supply, and it could be at risk of not having that water or restricted volumes which would significantly impact our process.”

Without water, jobs would be in jeopardy, he said.

MDC and Carterton District Council have an agreement to provide water to the Waingawa industrial area – to a maximum take of 35 litres per second.

Mr Jordan said the plant only took 10 per cent of that.

Any reduction on what the plant, and other business in the Waingawa commercial area can take, would have a significant impact on the business, he said.

Water storage was a “no brainer”.

“We have all this rainfall in the mountains that we don’t catch and then in the summer we get dry,” he said.

He said the company has renewed its interest with Water Wairarapa, and the company had given “a significant amount” of funding to the project, he said.

The company had spent a lot of time researching ways to reduce its demand for water.

“We are aware that as a major water user, you can’t just sit on your hands and say it’s someone else’s problem.”

He has looked into on-site water storage options, but due to its land size, that would only be large enough for one to two days storage.

Mr Jordan said people were “ignoring” the benefits of water storage.

“In New Zealand, we are guilty because we have an abundance of water that will not continue

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