Hawkes Bay Regional Council supports Ruataniwha scheme

The final decision from the board of inquiry is expected this weekend, but that doesn't signal the end of it, as the final decision can still be appealed.

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council may have voted 6-3 to invest $80 million into the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme, but there is a long way to go before the project can even get off the ground.

Funding is a big issue, with Ngāi Tahu pulling out, it looks like He Toa Takitini may follow suit. 

It took three hours of rigorous debate, but the outcome was no surprise, as the council voted to cough up the $80 million needed for the water storage scheme.

But it's a far cry from the $275 million needed to build the dam.

He Toa Takitini, the organisation representing Tamatea and Heretaunga treaty claims, has just signed its agreement in principal for $100 million this month, was flagged as a potential investor.

Chairman of the Hawkes Bay Regional Council Standing Committee, Mike Mohi, says any suggestions that $20 million has been set aside to specifically invest in the dam, is a big misconception.

The nine marae of the Central Hawkes Bay region has been consulted over the last four-five years but it's unlikely they will vote to invest.

A minimum usage of 40 million cubic litres of water a year is needed for the dam to be financially viable, which would see farmers pay an annual water user agreement fee to draw water from it.