The Wai-iti Valley is located in the northern region of New Zealand’s South Island. Water demand during summer in the Wai-iti Valley is greater than the available supply, resulting in water allocation restrictions and pressure on in-stream habitat and uses. Further, the summer water resource in the Wai-iti Catchment is currently over-allocated. Thus, since the mid 1980s, Tasman District Council (TDC) has been unable to grant new water permits to take water from either rivers or

groundwater in the Wai-iti Catchment. Existing water permit quotas have been reduced where they were not being used, but despite this agricultural, horticultural and domestic use is frequently restricted during dry years.
Recently, the need for a community solution was identified for the Wai-iti Valley area. The Wai-iti Water Augmentation Committee (comprising representatives from the local community and TDC) was set up in 1995 to find the best option for the northernmost extent of the Wai-iti valley. A feasibility study for a community dam was completed in 2001 identifying small off-river storage dams as options. The proposed scheme is located in a tributary of the Wai-iti River and is essentially a water harvesting project where winter flows in the stream would be impounded and stored, and gradually released on a regular basis back into the stream and Wai-iti River system during dry summer periods.
The paper will cover the project’s economic objectives as well as community and environmental impacts and the consenting process under the Resource Management Act. Dam construction is planned to start in October 2004.

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