50 water storage questions

Water Magazine

BayBuzz10 May 2012

General Status of Tukituki Catchment

1. What is HBRC’s position on the current – or benchmark – environmental health of the Tukituki? Do environmentalists or other government assessments agree with that assessment?
2. What standards, indicators or measures will HBRC use to establish the environmental health of the Tukituki? Do these include measures of macroinvertebrate health in the river?
3. Do environmentalists agree that proposed water quality and minimum flow standards are sufficiently stringent to protect river health?
4. Does HBRC commit to enhancing water quality in the catchment as a result of implementing the proposed scheme? What pollution reduction targets will be used and enforced to achieve such improvement?
5. How frequently and in which locations will water quality be measured?
6. To what extent will recreational activities be enhanced in the catchment as a result of water storage?

Environmental impact of dam/reservoir

7. What landscape enhancements will be implemented by HBRC with respect to the reservoir?
8. Are there any adverse effects on aquatic species above the dam?
9. Will the dam be operated so as to guarantee that minimum flow requirements are met throughout
the catchment?
10. What alternative land use and water management options, instead of building a dam, have been examined to achieve water quality and security goals? Why were these alternatives set aside?

Environmental impact of farming

11. Given that current environmental problems with the Tuki stem inlarge part from farm run-off associated with current levels and types of farming in the catchment, how can substantially more – and more intensive – farming be added to the catchment without causing even more deterioration?
12. If an aggregate permitted nutrient load is set for all users of the scheme, how will individual farm nutrient discharge (based on what and how they farm) be allocated within that total catchment load?
13. What discharge mitigation measures is HBRC prepared to require of farmers in the catchment to improve water quality? What legal instrument will require such measures?
14. How will implementation of these measures by individual farmers be monitored? What penalties will apply if farmers fail to meet discharge limits?
15. What information is available regarding farmers’ current use of such measures and best practices? In other words, what improvement potential exists, assuming such practices are not now uniformly used?
16. Will mitigation measures apply only to farmers taking water via the water storage scheme, or to all farmers in the Tukituki catchment?
17. If intensified farming nevertheless leads to deterioration of water quality, what provision is made for more rigorous protections to be implemented?

Environmental impact of point discharges from Waipawa/Waipukurau

18. Will new, higher water quality standards be met in 2014, as already required by the Environment Court?
19. Does HBRC concur that the standards required to be met in 2014 are appropriate?
20. What treatment scheme is CHB adopting to meet those standards?

Project cost

21. What is the full cost of the water storage infrastructure – i.e. the dam and delivery system to the farm gate?
22. What is the cost of the infrastructure to the farm gate for individual farmers? On what basis will this cost be allocated to individual farmers?
23. What is the estimated on-farm cost to farmers for new irrigation distribution on their farms?
24. What is the estimated cost to farmers for annual operating expenses of the scheme?
25. What is the estimated cost to farmers for environmental mitigation measures?

Economic benefits

26. How many farmers could potentially participate in the scheme?
27. What is the projected farmer uptake for the scheme over the first five years of operation?
28. Can farmers trade their water allocations?
29. What assumptions are made about increased capital value of land irrigated by the scheme?
30. What assumptions are made about increased farm output (i.e., what is produced and how much?) and its market value for users of the scheme? What is the reliability of these assumptions given individual farmer’s control their own land use?
31. What economic benefits have been projected for downstream farmers who arguably will benefit from greater security of water supply?
32. What flow-on region-wide economic benefits have been projected from increased farm output? What uncertainties are involved in these projections?

Financing scenarios

33. What share of total scheme capital costs will be met by user-owner-farmers?
24. Will any provision be made for farmer support in meeting these costs (e.g., deferred payments, below-market financing)?
35. Will HBRC (i.e., the general ratepayer) pay any part of capital or operating costs for the storage scheme?
36. What other ownership/investor participants are projected, by type – central government, iwi, supply chain investors, other commercial investors?
37. Given the range of potential financial participants, what is the projected ownership pie – which owners own how much of the scheme?
38. What is assumed cost of that funding (expected ROI or interest rates)?
39. How can owners sell their water rights or otherwise exit the scheme?
40. Are overseas investors expected to participate as owners/lenders?
41. Are any special review or consent requirements in place regarding potential foreign ownership of water infrastructure or water rights?
42. What are the investment objectives of various parties?
43. What ‘public good’ value has been assigned to the scheme and what is its justification?
44. To the extent borrowing by HBRC or any HBRC-controlled unit is involved, will it be within established HBRC borrowing parameters?
45. How is risk distributed? Specifically, what financial exposure is carried by the HBRC (i.e., ratepayers) on this project? Is this an appropriate level in the context of HBRC’s overall investment portfolio?
46. Is water effectively given a commodity price by this scheme?

Governance Questions

47. What is the overall structure and mechanism to ensure public accountability for the business, environmental and other public good objectives of the storage scheme?
48. What Mãori involvement is anticipated in any part of this governance structure?
49. What are the business objectives of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company in relation to the water storage scheme?
50. When and how will ratepayers have their say on whether this project should proceed?

BayBuzz10 May 2012

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