Funding to unlock economic growth in Wairarapa

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $800,000 to investigate the development and construction of community water storage to unlock environmentally sustainable economic growth opportunities in the Wairarapa, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.

“The water supply is becoming unpredictable in the region, particularly during the summer months. Without it local businesses relying on water could be increasingly impacted, limiting their ability to operate and grow in the region,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

“Research has shown that in the next 25 years, an additional 1000 hectares of apples can expect to generate 1300 more jobs and $81 million a year in GDP for the region. To make this happen, a reliable water supply will be needed. This project has the potential to provide up to 18 million cubic litres of stored water for the region to be used in a time of need.

 A reliable water supply would also enable increased land diversification to higher value, less resource intensive horticulture and agriculture, attract new industries to the region, supplement domestic water supply, and mitigate the impacts of drought.

The PGF’s investment will go to Wairarapa Water Limited (WWL) to support a review and update of a 2015 pre-feasibility study which investigated six potential water schemes in the region, of which the Wakamoekau water storage option was found most favourable. It will also align the study to recent climate change projections and current Government policies regarding small-scale water storage schemes for communities. 

“This pre-feasibility work will identify and address risks to the region’s long-term ability to further develop economic opportunities and the primary industries sector which is already a major employer in the region.”

Once completed, the Wakamoekau project will be ready to progress the next stage which includes feasibility planning. Wakamoekau water storage would be located northwest of Masterton on the Ruamāhanga River.

Water is one of three focuses of the Wairarapa economic development plan. The project is a collaboration between the WWL, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the three Wairarapa councils.

“Work on developing a successful water solution for the Wairarapa has been on-going since 2010. The PGF has the opportunity to make a strategic investment to move this project forward and improve the Wairarapa economy and quality of life for generations to come in an environmentally sustainable way,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

Notes to editors

Minister of Defence and for Veterans Affairs Hon Ron Mark will make the announcement at the Carterton Events Centre at 10.15am on behalf of the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau.