Tarras Water weighs options

Tarras Water Ltd is still afloat, even if the company's hopes for a dry shareholder have been sunk, director Peter Jolly says.

When contacted by Southern Rural Life last week, Mr Jolly said the company's shareholders were looking at their options, including some which would not involve Tarras Water Ltd.

The company's board was still meeting regularly and had a ''telephone link-up'' about three weeks ago and an ''informal'' meeting last week, he said.

However, the board had abandoned hope of a dry shareholder taking equity in the company, he said.

''Tarras Water as it was designed is not going to work, so we have to ask is there another alternative?'' Mr Jolly said.

There were still hopes for irrigation drawn from the Clutha River to be in place in Tarras by next season, but what option would be utilised was ''all a bit vague at the moment''.

''We are all assessing our options and licking our wounds a bit,'' Mr Jolly said.

Tarras Water Ltd had proposed irrigating 5999ha of land at Tarras by drawing 4500 litres of water a second from the Clutha River between September and April each year.

It was hoped the Otago Regional Council would act as a dry shareholder for the company and purchase 30% of its shares at a cost of about $3.4 million to ratepayers.

However, at the council's June 26 meeting it declined to invest in the scheme.

Since then no decisions have been made on the future of the company, but that did not mean there was no future for Tarras Water Ltd, Mr Jolly said.

He and the other directors hoped to ''keep the company alive'', but its directors and shareholders were weighing up their options, he said.

''There's definitely still hope there will be water [irrigating Tarras] by next year, but under what entity I'm not sure,'' Mr Jolly said.

- Timothy Brown. 

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