Water storage has been considered in Wairarapa for many years and has the potential for significant long-term economic and social gains.
The motivation to establish a more reliable source of water was initially sparked by the severe drought of 1997-98. Following this, funding for a national research project was provided by Central Government.
Initial investigations into potential schemes for Wairarapa started in the early 2000s. Over that time, a number of comprehensive reports have been produced that provide deep insights into climate and seasonal rainfall patterns, volumes and flows in our waterways and the geological make up of possible storage sites.
Studies during this time have also looked at the potential economic, social and cultural opportunities a regional water storage scheme could provide.
The Wairarapa Regional Irrigation Trust was formed in 2007 to build on initial investigative work carried out by local economic development agencies. It commissioned preliminary studies that indicated strong potential for irrigating land that currently does not have access to water. The Trust continues to work to provide farmers and other groups with information on how irrigation could work for them.
The Wairarapa Water Use Project was set up in 2010 by Greater Wellington Regional Council to formally take the initiative from initial scoping through a series of feasibility stages. In 2016, the initiative was renamed ‘Water Wairarapa’.
Check out the project timeline for details of key milestones and current activities to see where the investigations are at right now.