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Monday, 25 May 2009

Water race referendum set for July

ODT: Otekaieke water-race consumers will vote in July on whether the scheme should be transferred into private ownership from the Waitaki District Council.

The race supplies about 75 people with water for irrigation and does not supply drinking water.

A private company of farmers, Otekaieke Water Company Ltd, approached the council earlier this year about buying the 10km water race, its intake and reticulation, to provide more water for irrigation.

The council agreed to the change in ownership, subject to a binding referendum which is being conducted by the council's electoral officer, Joanna Firman.

If a majority of votes supports the proposal, the council will transfer ownership to the water company.

If a majority does not support the proposal or the vote is tied, the council will retain ownership of the water race.

The company wants improvements to the race, but the council has said it is not prepared to allocate resources for that.

The race also does not naturally fit with the council's business or priorities.

The company plans to invest a considerable amount of capital into the scheme to provide a more reliable water supply.

The system has about 10km of open water-race.

The water comes from a weir in the Otekaieke River above the Kenmore Homestead and shares parts of the Upper Waitaki Irrigation Scheme in its lower reaches.

If the proposal is successful, the water company plans to retain the first 2.5km of open race, build a new dam and bypass system, and install a reticulated, piped system for irrigation and stock use to all the existing stakeholders over the remaining 7.5km.

All legal fees and costs involved in the referendum and the transfer of ownership would be paid by the water company, Mrs Firman said.

She said the area for the referendum covers properties at present paying an Otekaieke water-race district rate, class A and B.

All ratepayers and electors enrolled as residing at properties in the poll area would be sent information about the poll in the next few weeks.

Voting documents will be posted out in July.

Anyone living in the poll area who is not enrolled to vote can register by June 12 through the Electoral Enrolment Centre, any Post Shop or www.elections


1 comment:

Steve Baron said...

It's good to see ratepayers getting more of a say in local body politics. Stories like this seem to be popping up more regularly.