I emailed the HBRC councillors the following questions which were forwarded to HBRIC for response by one of the councillors.
I note that HBRIC is giving their monthly update presentation on Wednesday. I have a number of questions which I would like you to give consideration.
Andrew Newman stated in his recent HB Today talking point that HBRIC is contracting farmers to switched from ground water takes to stored water.
- How many land owners and what volume of water has HBRIC included in the signed conditional contacts which meet this criteria?
- Given that it seems unlikely that any prudent business owner would swap the supply of free water (ground water) for water costing 27c/m3 have any land owners been offered discounts of any sort to encourage them to meet this criteria?
The monthly report does not update progress on signed conditional contracts. I understand that HBRIC has started to include a lien clause in these contracts which may be creating some difficulties, given that land owners bankers will be very excited about the prospect of their security being devalued by such a lien.
- What is the current number of land owners and what volume of water is now on signed conditional contracts?
- Has a lien clause now been included in the contracts?
In the latest Our Place magazine Andrew Newman was included in the HBRC staff photo on page 14. Is Mr Newman back working for HBRC or is he still on secondment to HBRIC to ensure that conflicts of interest, perceived or otherwise, do not arise?
There have been 4 earthquakes in New Zealand in the last 100 years with a magnitude greater than 7.5, with none greater than 7.8. One of course being the 7.8 magnitude 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. Why has the dam not been designed to withstand a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rather than a 7.5?
There is no update on the consequences the Plan Change 5 decision may have on the RWSS consents. What is their opinion?
There is no update of any consequences a delay in the DOC land swap proposal may have on the RWSS. If HBRC are unable to obtain free title to the 22ha what are the consequences to the ability of RWSS to meet it’s storage capacity targets? My understanding is that the capacity of the dam will drop to something like 30 million m3, although I could well be wrong in my calculations. Never the less a significant issue I’m sure you will agree.
For the historical record I think that it is imperative that a written record should be kept of HBRIC responses to these questions
I was going to forward the following to HB Today to publish but it got superseded by the BOI announcement on Friday
At Wednesdays HBRC meeting HBRIC CEO Andrew Newman stated that farmers who have been exited off ground water onto stored water (the dam) have been offered discounted contracts of 10c per m3 for 5 years. He had already acknowledged that around 11.5 million m3 has been contracted farmers wishing to swap from ground to stored water. Given that the stated price for water is 23c per m3 (excluding any additional cost of reticulation) this means these farmers have been given a discount of 13c per m3 (which is roughly the costs of a deep water bore). By my calculations this means that HBRIC is currently offering subsidies of $7,475,000 to farmers to transit off ground water.
Now I don’t blame the farmers for taking up this deal. Why look such a gift horse in the mouth? Given that the deal only lasts for 5 years I do wonder why they see no future in their current ground water consents. Knowing that HBRC is both regulator and promoter of the dam if I was a farmer with a current resource consent I would be asking what are the odds on my consent being rolled over when it comes to being renewed? Perhaps the fact that HBRIC has applied for consents for the additional 15 million m3 of ground water allowed by the BOI essentially means that HBRIC has captured all of the water available for irrigation on the Ruataniwha Plains gives some direction. Perhaps this is what Iain Maxwell means when he states that the market will sort out allocation issues?