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Hawke's Bay faces a 'dam' good future

Federated Farmers is celebrating Hawke’s Bay Regional Council securing $1.67 million from the Irrigation Acceleration Fund, for the Ruataniwha Plains Water Storage Project Feasibility Study.

“This is big and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council deserves a massive pat on the back for the vision and leadership it has shown on the Ruataniwha Plains Water Storage Project,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president and President of Federated Farmers.

“I farm in a drought prone area in the Hawke’s Bay. The fact is this water storage project must stack up in terms of the environment, engineering and commercial factors. The Irrigation Acceleration Fund’s contribution will help the Council to test these things.

“If it comes off, it will be big for the Bay and big for New Zealand. The Ruataniwha Plains Water Storage Project dam is costed at $180 million and the dam wall will stand some 77 metres high.

“The resulting reservoir will cover an area of some 400 hectares; only slightly smaller than Sydney’s central business district but double the size of Wellington's central business district.

“It will lift our irrigable area from 6,000 hectares to over 20,000 hectares, greatly aiding the development of pastoral agriculture and horticulture.

“At the beginning of this year, Heinz announced they were closing an Australian plant in favour of the Hawke’s Bay. It means Heinz will no longer make sauces or ketchup in Australia.

“For Heinz to use Hawke’s Bay grown product ahead of imported product, means we need reliable sources of water. The decision of Heinz gives one hint to what the Ruataniwha Plains Water Storage Project could deliver the national economy,” Mr Wills concluded.