FAQs: Water storage and use project

Why is this project necessary?

The high-level aspiration of this project is to provide new reliable water supplies that help lift the prosperity and wellbeing of local communities. A more sustainable water supply is needed to foster the continued expansion of horticulture and protect the environment.

Where will the water storage facilities be located?

Investigations are targeted at the Dargaville and mid North (Kaikohe) areas. At this stage of the investigations, no one site has been identified for the location of water storage facilities nor has a final design option been selected. A number of potential catchments have been identified during previous investigations and will be investigated further (see the maps in the 'Introduction to the project'). This next investigation will provide detailed analysis of potential sites which will inform the decision-making process.

If the facilities are completed, what will the benefits for the local communities be?

A more reliable water supply will give landowners greater options to utilize their land, creating more employment opportunities for local communities, which will benefit the local economy.

Will there be any changes to land use if the project goes ahead?

It is anticipated that the provision of water will facilitate a shift away from dryland pastoral farming to horticulture (both perennial and annual crops) and in the process, optimise the use of the highly versatile soils located within the region. These higher value crops offer greater returns and employ more people than present dryland farming operations.

Who will decide if the project continues to the next stage?

Once the report is received, the Steering Group will develop recommendations, in consultation with the Advisory Group, for central government. The ability to proceed will depend on a number of factors, including the construction costs, the affordability for land and business owners to purchase ongoing supplies of water and economic returns.

Who will pay for the storage facility?

If the project is to proceed, it is likely any water storage facilities will require a mixed funding model with multiple partners, including local and central government funding and private investors.

Will the water storage supply be used for municipal purposes?

Non-commercial water use opportunities, such as public water supply, were identified for the water storage options, but must be funded by district councils. This will be actively considered as this may assist in creating a viable construction project.

Do local Iwi support the project?

Iwi and hapū will be invited to appoint representatives to the advisory group, along with other key stakeholder representatives. Mana whenua and local Māori will also be able to provide feedback during the engagement phase of the project.

Will the project be harmful to the environment?

Protecting the environment is a key consideration of the project and any potential option that would cause significant environmental damage would not proceed.

Why is the Whangārei District Council not involved in the project?

The three proposed sites, in the Kaipara and the mid North area, are outside of the Whangārei district.