TDC Dam On The Agenda
But what is the agenda that TDC has with the dam?
With over-allocated water rights and increasing pressure on water resources from all sources, something will have to be done. Short of reducing water rights and implementing a rationing regime, there appears to be little option other than to create another supply.
No one wants to see a lack of water creating an economic bottleneck in the region. Nor does anyone want to face repeated water rationing becoming the norm in increasing duration. However, when it comes to paying for a dam we do not want burden ourselves with a debt that will soak up rates faster than el Nino on steroids.
So who pays for the dam?
The Government will chip in something (if we proceed during the right part of the election cycle). Then there are the commercial users such as forestry (because their trees are draining large areas of river catchment) and the lowland farmers, horticulturists, and gardeners. Then, of course, there are the general ratepayers who like to swim in the river and fish in it (are there any fish left?).
Based on the current model of building a dam to let water run down the river in the hope it raises the aquifer levels that is the sole source of funding available. Just looking at those benefits it is hard to see how they can justify general Joe public facing much of a rate increase. Good luck to the commercial users surviving their fair share of the construction costs!
The currently proposed model will also do nothing to alleviate the shortfall of water that urban dwellers are facing each dry summer. Anyone who has seen the rate of subdivision and construction growth around the Tasman area wouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to speculate that our water crisis is not going away anytime soon.
Given these facts, it would seem short-sighted to invest the kind of money required to build a dam to flush water down the river without any consideration as to how we are going to meet the increasing demand for residential supply. Explain that decision to future generations with no water, paying off the debt for the dam we built.
Another way to reduce the cost to individuals is to find more commercial end users. We do not even need to sell more water to do this. We can sell by-products such as electricity. I understand that council looked into working with electricity companies and none were interested. I would be interested in learning how many were approached and what deal was offered to them. Was a deal pitched to local industries? Was Mr Talley, turned down for consent to build a hydro-dam recently, not interested? Have we considered off-shore interests?
Suppose it was not viable to build a full-scale hydro-electric dam, were other alternatives given adequate consideration?
Portland municipal, for example, has teamed up with Lucid Energy to recoup some of their water supply expenditure.
I am sure our TDC monthly power bill could do with an energy injection.
Surely at the very least any TDC builds should have an outlet put in for future piping of the water should we need it, and in the meantime that outlet could be spinning some turbines while it lets water run down the riverbed.
What do you think?