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Water storage pop-up launches

The site where the Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme would be built. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

An information centre for people wanting to find out more about the Wakamoekau Community Water Storage Scheme opened yesterday in Masterton.

The centre, at 153 Queen St, is open every Wednesday from 11am until 1pm, and Saturday 10am until noon in March.

Staff from Wairarapa Water, the company leading the project, will be on hand to answer questions as well as provide additional information about the water storage project.

Walt Dickson said that the “why” behind the information centre was to give the community an opportunity to ask questions, but more importantly provide feedback.

The centre would visualise the project, with photos and designs for the storage project.

“The Wakamoekau scheme is a new, smarter way of collecting and storing water to provide security for the region for generations to come,” Wairarapa Water said.

“The scheme consists of a reservoir in a natural valley basin located in the hills northwest of Masterton. It will be filled primarily with water collected from the nearby Waingawa River and upper Wakamoekau Creek.

“Water will be taken only during periods of higher flow when there is significant rainfall in the hill country and stored for use in the dry months when it is needed most.

“The water will provide for rivers, towns, industry, land-use change, and rural supply,” Wairarapa Water said.

The area where the proposed reservoir would be located has been farmland since the 1940s.

“Nearly all of this land is in pasture, and grazed by livestock,” Wairarapa Water said.

Wairarapa Water said the project came after 20 years of debate and investigations into water storage opportunities in Wairarapa culminating in the Wakamoekau scheme.

“It has support from central and local government, businesses, some iwi groups, community groups, and industry.”

Wairarapa Water chief executive Robyn Wells said what was being proposed would be sustainable water storage that delivered positive outcomes to the community.

“The Wakamoekau project is about doing water storage differently. By different, we mean sustainable water storage that delivers positive outcomes to the whole community, carefully balancing the cultural, social, environmental, and economic needs of our region – where all parts are equally important as the others.

“We hope that by providing water security for the region in a way that the community wants it, we will unlock opportunities for a thriving and inclusive region,” Wells said.

Wairarapa Water said the project was also part of a wider journey – that of water resilience for the region.

“There is increasing concern about water security in Wairarapa owing to pressures from climate change, population growth, and new environmental regulations.”

Wells said Wairarapa Water recognised that the reservoir was not the only solution to creating water security to Wairarapa.

“The region will need a balance of solutions to ensure its long and short-term resilience. Development of water consciousness and nature-based solutions are also critical,” Wells said.

Wairarapa Water said it fully supported Wells’ statement that the project would not be the sole solution to water resilience.

Wairarapa Water said it was planning to submit a final resource consent application for the project within the next few months.

The draft resource consent application has been available on the Wairarapa Water website since January, at wwl.net.nz/reports.

  • Anyone seeking further information or clarification about the project are encouraged by Wairarapa water to call into the pop-up information centre in Masterton.

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