After 20 years in the pipeline and more than $12 million spent, a major Wairarapa dam project has been abandoned. Wairarapa Water Ltd says development of the Waka moe kau Community Water Storage Scheme will stop immediately. The scheme northwest of Masterton was designed to harvest high winter flows of the Waingawa River into a 20 million cubic metre dam for use in summer. Wairarapa Water chairman Tim Lusk says the scheme is no longer viable as the environmental planning framework has changed rapidly to render the it extremely challenging to consent. Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty is “gutted” by the decision and says the scheme is a wasted opportunity. About half of the $7 million PGF loan has been spent to date and the Greater Wellington Regional Council also invested around $7 million. Tim Lusk says the development work could be picked up again when conditions allow and that he can’t imagine a climate change solution in the Wairarapa without community water storage.
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