A new study shows that using water from Lake Tekapo to
irrigate South Canterbury land would not be economically
Environment Canterbury has released a report on transferring
water from Lake Tekapo via Burkes Pass to South Canterbury,
for irrigation and environmental uses.
The report factored in hydro-electric power generation that
could be lost from the existing Waitaki scheme, possible
generation capacity from a new water transfer, and the
economic benefits from a boost to South Canterbury
Two Tekapo transfer concepts were outlined: a 2 cumec
year-round transfer, supporting 11,550ha of irrigated land;
and a 10 cumec seasonal transfer, providing for 25,000ha of
Analysis showed neither would produce a net economic benefit
or be affordable for any likely land use, based on the
various assumptions made.
On a dairy farm, the first concept would need capital input
of $64,228 per hectare and result in an estimated loss of
$2430 per hectare.
Construction costs were estimated between $264 million and
$382 million (equivalent to $22,918 to $33,103 per hectare).
The second concept, also on a dairy farm, would need capital
input of $59,530 per hectare and result in an estimated loss
of $1857 per hectare.
Construction costs were estimated between $478 million and
$691 million (equivalent to $19,152 to $27,664 per hectare).
''While the report shows neither of the Tekapo transfer
concepts appear to be economically viable, it provides a
comprehensive suite of information useful as a resource to
inform further work and ongoing discussions at the Canterbury
Water Management Strategy committees,'' ECan commissioner
David Caygill said.
The report was part of a wider consideration of water options
under the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.
It incorporated more than a century of previous work on the
prospect of taking water from the lake to South Canterbury
Ways of avoiding mixing the alpine water with the rivers were
That could potentially solve water quality and cultural
challenges, Mr Caygill said.
''The report will provide water management zone committees
with the information they need to make comparisons between
the Tekapo concepts and other ideas and proposals for
bringing water into the relatively water-short South
''While the report primarily looks at the economic costs and
impacts of the Tekapo transfer concepts, it also takes into
account environmental and cultural values that are central to
the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.''