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Deadline for water storage project

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/04/2016

Time is about to run out for farmers to sign up as foundation members of the contentious Ruataniwha Water Scheme.

Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company says it's making steady progress towards its water uptake target for the plan.

Farmers have until Monday to join up as foundation water users of the irrigation scheme and receive early adopter discounts.

Whether the scheme goes ahead is dependent on whether the investment company can contract 45 million cubic metres of water before financial close.

HBRIC chief executive Andrew Newman says while Monday is the deadline for sign ups, the company will not be releasing any water uptake figures until it has reported back to its shareholder, the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and potential investors, which is expected to take a couple of weeks.

The estimated cost of the contentious water storage project has ballooned to more than $900 million.

The project, which is being driven by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, was expected to cost $600m but a recent economic assessment revised the figures first put forward in 2012.

The dam will hold about 100 million cubic metres of water.

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