Submissions ‘key to truth over dam’
The latest ‘‘Tasman District Council Newsline’’ advises Councillors and some high paid help will next week consider the 1515 Public Submissions received on the funding and governance proposals on the Waimea Dam.
I am heartened submissions from ratepayers and interested public have exposed the myths, misinformation, errors and omissions in the underlying assumptions and draft plans to date.
The proposed dam storage is five or six times the required capacity. I note this weeks announcement that the Hunter Downs scheme is proceeding at a similar overall cost to the TDC scheme but irrigating 12,000 hectares with NO general ratepayer subsidy.
TDC’s own recent admission they have never priced the civil cost of the 87 Hectare Reservoir and sealing of the lake bed to hold the 13.4 million cubic meters of water is appalling and makes the TDC claim $76.9 million at P95 a gross misrepresentation.
Clearing 87 Hectares of steep, sloping, and fractured terrain will cost $30 million plus. Simple maths tells us if the trees, bushes, shrubs, detritus, topsoil, and stumps accrue to one meter high over the whole site there will be around one million cu m to move away from the dam footprint area to a stockpile area where runoff can be managed until final disposal.
Once cleared all stump holes, soft areas and fractures must be filled and compacted then the lake bed must be permanently sealed to avoid an underground river appearing somewhere it is not wanted.
Tonkin & Taylor advise due to slope instability above the new lake no logging operations be allowed as logs and detritus will all end up in the lake. TDC have chosen not to purchase these slopes and will need to purchase cutting rights or the land itself.
For the 2017 consultation TDC state they will use trading profits to repay dam loans - this approach is intellectually dishonest and is a blatant subsidy from those who can least afford the costs to those who can most afford the costs and contradicts the 2014 Council assurances profits from trading were applied to reducing rates for all ratepayers.
There is no shortage of water. From WWAC newsletter no 17 we know that the mean annual volume of water flowing from the Lee to the Waimea is 121 million Cu M pa (will fill the oversized dam 9 times per year).
Water flow studies show that 95 per cent of the water flowing over the Waimea East Weir reaches the Waimea estuary. We know that Waimea East Irrigators Irrigate approx. 1000 Ha per summer the same as the Wai-Iti scheme from the 810,000 cu m Kainui Storage pond. We also know that the Waimea Aquifers hold 80 to 90 million cu m of storage.
TDC to date have not produced science that proves any dam released water in low flow will reach either the irrigation or town supply bores.
We do know the now removed weir near Mt Heslington Road charged a massive aquifer which extended as far as the coastal highway and when it was demolished by the catchment board in 1958 the water table in Ranzau and Pugh Roads and the Coastal Highway dropped by two meters.
To plan a dam where 90 per cent of the water flows out to sea is a folly. Ratepayers have clearly told councillors it should be user pays for the environmental flow. It is not general ratepayers’ nor non interested ratepayers’ responsibility to replace water in a river when irrigators take it out.
Environmental flow is gener- ally accepted as a decision point where all river inflows each day must be allowed to flow down the river – storing water to put it in the river when nature itself cannot is patently stupid.
I understand if TDC were honest the true and full cost of the effort to date is nearly five times the amount TDC currently admit to and worse they continue to use blatant propaganda to push their case.
On page 13 of the consultation document TDC claim Council Urban supply requires 23.5 per cent of dam capacity and NCC urban supply requires 6.6 per cent.
This is a direct contradiction to the very expensive MWH Stantec report which states TDC urban usage is currently 3.37 per cent and NCC urban ( Stoke & Industrial) is currently 0.65 per cent. Meaning 96 per cent of completed dam capacity would be for Irrigators. TDC and WIL seem to go to great lengths to hide the real figures from ratepayers.
The Early contractor engagement option by TDC shows serious lack of commercial nous, and inviting tenders for 40 per cent of schedule pricing is unfathomable. Why TDC did not engage an Engineering firm experienced in water storage projects to produce a tender schedule for the complete project is beyond comprehension.?
The upper Lee River valley, the location of the proposed Waimea Community Dam.