Crown Irrigation agrees terms in respect of loans totalling $35 million to the Waimea Community Dam

21 December 2018 | Author: Murray Gribben

Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (‘CIIL’ or ‘the Company’) has agreed terms in respect of loans totalling $35 million to the Waimea Community Dam Project (the Project).

CIIL has agreed terms for two debt facilities to the Project. A senior facility to Waimea Water Limited (DamCo) for $25 million and a facility to the Tasman District Council (TDC) for $10 million to assist TDC with funding the environmental benefits component of the Project.

The Project has a long history after the region suffered a one-in 24-year drought in 2001, prompting severe water restrictions and resulting in millions of dollars of lost horticultural product. Regulatory changes have also introduced new minimum flow standards for the Waimea River. A range of options for a secure water supply were examined and the Project was identified as the lowest cost and most effective option for meeting the region’s urban and commercial water supply needs today and in the future.

The proposed dam is a concrete-faced rock filled dam. It will be approximately 53m high, 220m long and 6m wide at the crest and will have a total reservoir storage volume of approximately 13.4 million cubic metres. The dam is designed to the highest safety standards applicable for dams in New Zealand. It is expected that it will take about 3 years to complete construction.

The dam will capture water flows in the Lee River and store the water in a reservoir. The controlled release of stored water from the reservoir into the Wairoa / Waimea River system, during periods of high water demand and/or low natural river flows, will refresh and re-supply groundwater aquifer levels. Higher minimum flows will also result in improved river health which benefits instream fish and other aquatic life, recreational pursuits and environmental amenity values.

Alongside the environmental benefits, the Project will provide access to water for residential, industrial and commercial needs across the Nelson Tasman region. The economic benefits to ‘NZ Inc’ are expected to be in excess of $300 million.

The Project leverages funding from a range of partners being, Waimea Plains water users, TDC, central Government (via the Freshwater Improvement Fund and CIIL) and Nelson City Council.

The terms of CIIL’s investment have been approved by CIIL’s Board of Directors. The transaction has been subject to comprehensive due diligence by CIIL.

Construction of the Project is expected to be completed by March 2022.