He's got more than enough water for his Maraekakaho farm, but Mike Glazebrook is offering to expand his dam to help others out.

The increase in size will help provide water for other farmers on the Heretaunga Plains by storing water at times of plenty, to be released in times of need.

"It is a relatively short dam wall to provide quite a lot of storage," Glazebrook said.

"We are also lucky we are below the river level, so it is easy enough to run the river into it and yet remain above the Heretaunga Plains where the water needs to end up."

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His dam can be increased to hold 5 million cubic metres of water, almost tripling the lake's footprint and preventing Heretaunga Plains irrigation restrictions during droughts.

Glazebrook has been one of about 30 stakeholders meeting regularly as the TANK group, looking at Heretaunga Plains water issues.

"It just seems to be a solution here that fits the problem," he said.

Mike Glazebrook's dams 'first on the list
Mike Glazebrook's dams 'first on the list" for Heretaunga water storage says Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Hawke's Bay regional councillor Tom Belford said TANK realised the Heretaunga aquifer was fully allocated so two years ago placed a cap on any new water consents on the Heretaunga Plains.

"Any new growth in the region, economically, would have to come from new water," Belford said.

"What our staff has estimated is that in a dry year maybe 5 million cubes or so may be needed to maintain our current takes for irrigation purposes, so the ability of relatively small-scale schemes like this one, to meet that need, is interesting."

Glazebrook's water storage scheme has a stage two plan, using another dam Glazebrook owns beside the Ngaruroro River about 5km away. Together they could increase capacity to more than 10 million cubic litres and could feed each other.

Primarily spring fed, the second dam sits above the Ngaruroro but could capture its water when the river is high.

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"That should be enough to keep existing irrigators going," Glazebrook said.

"It also frees up some water for some unirrigated land, including quite a large area of iwi land that currently doesn't have access to water, and a few other people that have been waiting for water for some time and are unable to get it due to a moratorium on water-takes on the Heretaunga Plains."

Glazebrook has paid for a feasibility study and recently lodged a resource consent with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council. It is good timing - the council has recently been allocated about $13 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to look at small water storage projects on the Heretaunga Plains,

Belford said Glazebrook's scheme was "at the top of the list simply because Mike has done all this leg work, it has been exposed to quite a few stakeholders over the last few years as part of the TANK process and people have walked away from their site visits and Mike's presentation saying, 'Hell, this makes a lot of sense'.

"From a 50,000-foot level it looks like a really attractive proposition."

Glazebrook is coy about the cost of the project, apart from saying he is confident the small-dam scheme could achieve big-dam economics.

And he says there is nothing in it for him. He would simply hand over his dams, to be administered by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, for the good of the community.

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