The Ruataniwha dam has enough water users signed up to make the scheme "cash positive" with HBRIC signing more than 42 million m3 of water.

Presenting to a packed public gallery - mostly of farmers who were called on to talk at various points of the HBRIC's presentation to the regional council today - the investment company's board members were upbeat.

"We believe that we are in a position where we will have the support of other investors to reach financial close on the basis of the uptake levels that we have achieved," Board Chairman Andy Pearce said.

"There is sufficient water sign up for the scheme to be cash positive."


HBRIC's executive Andrew Newman made it clear that they were asking the regional council not to approve this condition precedent of the project, but rather to just receive their report.
"We have the numbers to proceed," Mr Newman said.

He told the council that 196 water users have signed agreements, with a "small number" of those signed and in writing to HBRIC.

Mr Newman said these 196 users had signed up to 42.8 m m3 of water, and the company had a further 3m m3 "in an advanced stage of negotiation".

He said the number of contracts signed demonstrated the strong farmer commitment to the $333 million project - New Zealand's largest ever water storage scheme.

More to come.