$14million to clean up Hawke's Bay waterways

By Victoria White, Victoria White

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A $5million project has been outlined to improve the environment at the Ahuriri Estuary. Photo / Duncan Brown.
A $5million project has been outlined to improve the environment at the Ahuriri Estuary. Photo / Duncan Brown.

A price tag of $14million has been touted for the clean up of Hawke's Bay waterways - with almost a quarter of this to come from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Initial plans to tackle four waterways around the region - Lake Tutira, Lake Whakiki, the Tukituki River, and the Ahuriri estuary - have been created by the council, and were outlined at an Environment and Services Committee meeting last week.

Read more: Wairoa farmer uses video to join water debate

The total cost of these four projects is expected to be about $13.8million spread over a period of up to five years. The council have outlined their contribution to this sum as $4.6million.

The council had also applied for $6.5 million from the Government's Freshwater Improvement Fund - which commits $100million over 10 years to improve the management of New Zealand's waterways.

The shortfall would be made up with partnership funding.

The most costly project was the treatment of Napier's Ahuriri Estuary - or te Whanganui-a-Orotu- with a five year cost slated at $5,717,900, of which $914,690 would be contributed by the council.

A paper before the committee noted there was increasing evidence that the "jewel" of Napier was experiencing fundamental shifts in its state and health - with poor water quality, and excessive sediments entering the estuary.

The major items of expense to treat the area include constructed wetlands, riparian plantings, wetland plantings, and project management.

The beleaguered Lake Tutira's action plan required a total $3,553,861 over five years, including $1,580,080 from the council.

This aimed to restore the mauri of Tutira, and the neighbour Waikopiro lake, by addressing a number of problems plaguing the area, including erosion and sediment loss from the catchment, poor water quality, and excessive nutrient load in the main catchment waterway.

The other two waterways had total project costs of $2,817,774 for Wairoa's Whakiki Lake over five years, and $1,760,600 for the Tukituki River over four years.

At a council Environment and Services Committee last week Resource Management Group Manager Iain Maxwell said while he felt council was "in a good space to get a few" of their bids, there was a lot of competition for the fund.

He understood about $180million worth of bids had been received by the fund - which had $24.5million available in the first round.

"[The] prospects are marginal or slim, but if we're not successful in round one we'll be going back again, and again."

If funding was not approved work would still be carried out on these, and two other "hot spots" using the council's "environmental kick-start fund" which was created by a rate increase of 9.88 per cent this year.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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