The newly established Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust has appointed two new Trustees to help deliver one of the largest infrastructure projects seen in the province in decades.
Dargaville accountant Kathryn de Bruin and Okaihau civil contractor and businessman Ken
Rintoul join Dover Samuels and chair Murray McCully on the Trust.
The water storage and distribution schemes would see up to four reservoirs constructed in the Mid-North and two or three on the northern Pouto Peninsular in Kaipara. Collectively they would have the capacity store as much as 20 million cubic meters of water, enough to fill 8000 Olympic sized swimming pools.
Kathryn de Bruin, who also owns a horticultural operation in partnership with her husband and is a Director at Horticulture NZ, said development of the schemes would be transformational for both areas.
“I am a vocal advocate for rural-based businesses and these storage schemes will help strengthen the potential and growth of our rural communities,” Kathryn de Bruin said.
“We have some of the best horticultural soils in the country but without a reliable supply of water, it’s hard to realise that potential. By creating the ability to store water instead of simply letting it run away we can have it available year-round which will allow landowners to plan potential land-use change with confidence.”
Development of both schemes would allow for approximately 7,000ha of new irrigable land, an almost 50 per cent increase in Northland’s current area under horticultural production.
The Matawii reservoir near Kaikohe is the first reservoir to be constructed and it was hoped construction would commence before the end of the year. It was expected to provide up to 70 jobs. Other reservoirs would follow early next year.
The Matawii reservoir was one of 17 projects listed under the newly created COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act. The Act was created to fast track eligible projects that were already planned and ready to go and which could boost employment and economic recovery.
Ken Rintoul said the schemes were not just for horticultural use but would also be available to bolster municipal water supply to Dargaville and Kaikohe amongst other uses. The Trust hoped the first phase of the scheme could be operational in the Mid North by late 2021.
“While everyone will probably agree we’ve had more than enough rain lately so it’s perhaps easy to forget that just a matter of months ago we were in the grips of yet another serious drought in the North. We nearly ran out of water in Kaikohe, so this water storage scheme is an opportunity we need to grab hold of and make happen. It has transformative potential for the province,” Ken Rintoul said.
The Trust had received $67.5m in funding assistance from the Provincial Growth Fund to develop the schemes.
About Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust
The Trust are the Crown’s appointed representatives charged with delivering on the transformational promise of the water storage and use scheme in Northland. Its objective is to create the infrastructure needed to promote sustainable land-use change which will in turn lift the prosperity of local communities. The project also aims to address disparities in Māori access to water for land development. Development of the scheme is expected to lift employment by 12% in the Mid-North and 5% in the Kaipara per annum.
For more information contact Greg Hay - 021545054