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Ruataniwha Water Storage

The Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme is a long-term sustainable water supply solution for Central Hawke’s Bay. It is part of a wider programme to better manage water resources in the Tukituki Catchment.
The scheme will consist of a 93 million m³ storage reservoir located in the upper Makaroro river, storing water during periods of high flow and over winter. Water from the scheme can then be released improving river flows in the Tukituki Catchment through summer for river life and other river users, while at the same time providing secure water to irrigators. The scheme will be funded by both the public and private sector.  

Scheme Update

The Scheme's development can be split into five workstreams, which are being progressed in tandem. The objective is to reach financial close by the end of 2015. Progress in each key area is:


The EPA Board of Inquiry has granted 17 consents for RWSS. Approvals cover dam construction, a designated corridor for the primary distribution headrace/ pipeline, water allocation, production land use (for 58,000 ha) and a variety of other related matters. Further information about the EPA consent process can be found here or on the EPA website.
The consents are framed in a plan change for the Tukituki Catchment which sets the rules for water allocation and nutrient management. For more information about the nutrient management regime introduced by Plan Change 6, and reflected in the RWSS resource consent, have a read through our quick guide under the heading 'Relevant Documents' here.

Design & Construction

A price revalidation is underway for the design and construction contract and this should be completed by September 2015.
The successful constructor is a joint venture between Obrascon Huarte Lain SA and Hawkins Construction (OHL-Hawkins). Key subcontractors include Water Infrastructure Group and GHD as design Engineers.
OHL has built over 100 dams worldwide. Hawkins are New Zealand’s largest privately-owned construction company with considerable experience in large infrastructure projects.
GHD are consulting engineers with primary responsibility for the dam, power station, primary headrace canal and pipeline design.
Water Infrastructure Group (WIG) has design responsibility for the secondary distribution pipe network. They have significant experience with South Island irrigation schemes.

Water Uptake

Financial modelling indicates we need a minimum of 40 million m3 of water contracted to enable financial close. We have now committed additional resources to this activity and are in the process of a landowner/ property-by-property sales process, and signing Water User Agreements. For more information about uptake see the Business Case and Scheme Reports section of the website.


The proposed capital structure anticipates a mix of public and private sector capital from Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Co. Ltd, Crown Irrigation Investments, Institional Investors, Iwi, and Hawke’s Bay public (predominantly farmers). In June 2014, HBRC agreed to invest $80 million in the Scheme providing the Scheme meets its uptake threshold and has workable consents by financial close. Discussions with other potential investors are ongoing. For more information about Scheme investment see our Business Case.

Scheme Structure

RWSS will be a bulk water supply business operating under a Build Own Operate Transfer model (BOOT) with a concession deed governing the operating rules, risk allocation and transfer. The capital structure is predicated on a limited partnership model, which will enable investors to take profits and losses in their own balance sheets while retaining limited liability. The RWSS transfers to public ownership at the end of the 70 year concession period, with some intergenerational ownership rights potentially to be retained by Iwi and some private investors. More information about the Scheme structure can be found in the Scheme’s  Business Case.


Reports are made available here as they are finalised. Please select the type of report you are interested in below:

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