Economic modelling of the Waimea community dam

By Peter Clough

The Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency asked us to review and update economic assessments of the Waimea Community Dam, proposed for the Lee Valley south of Richmond. The dam would provide water storage of about 13 million cubic metres, sufficient to meet unrestricted demand and enhanced environmental minimum flows in drought conditions in the Waimea River. Along with cost benefit analysis (CBA), we used our TERM-NZ (bottom up regional) CGE model of the New Zealand economy to estimate the potential economic costs of non-augmentation and the likely long term economic benefits of dam installation and expansion of irrigated areas in the Waimea plains. Report available here.