Motueka water scheme advances

HELEN MURDOCH
Last updated 12:58 14/04/2014

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The resource consent process for the proposed Motueka Community Coastal Water Scheme is nearly done and dusted 11 years after it was first mooted.

However, the estimated $25 million to $30m project still has to make it through the Tasman District Council's Long-Term Plan process next year and get a national drinking water subsidy before it makes it off the drawing board.

Last month's Environment Court ruling on the proposed project gives more than 200 Motueka property owners the right to hook up to the future reticulated water supply for free.

The option applies to rural and residential property owners in the north and northwest area of the town whose existing shallow bores have been identified as possibly being affected by the system's wellfield.

It also allows the area of affected homes to be extended if the impact of the well's take on groundwater levels is greater than assessed by the council.

However, Wakatu Incorporation's property manager Iain Shieves said the ruling gives no comfort to horticulturists as it does not apply to deep bores. "And they form the backbone of Motueka."

Initially launched in 2003 at a cost of $12m, the council project will supply water from the Motueka aquifer to unreticulated areas of Motueka, Mapua and coastal Tasman. It was given approval by independent commissioners in May 2010 to take 16,000 cubic metres of groundwater a day. The council's current estimate is between $25m and $30m.

The latest decision stems from appeals by Wakatu Incorporation to the project's 2010 approval by independent commissioners.

Shieves said Wakatu was pleased with the outcome and the acknowledgement of the project's potential impact on the town's water reserve.

Council environment and planning manager Dennis Bush-King said the water allocation plan, which lifts the water allocation limits throughout the Motueka zone, still had to be worked through.

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