The Success of the Dam

The Opuha scheme provides reliable irrigation for 16,000 hectares in South Canterbury. More than 230 shareholder farmers benefit from reliable irrigation providing a huge boost to the local economy.

A 2006 study by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) evaluated the economic impact of the Opuha Dam over two seasons and found the dam added an impressive $124million to the South Canterbury economy and $20 million per year to the district’s households. MED also estimates that the Opuha scheme created approximately 500 new full-time jobs. The report is available for download below under ‘Case Studies & Reports.’

Additional to the increased value of farms and farming activities, reliable irrigation provided the impetus for development and growth of downstream processing industries, such as various vegetable processing operations in Washdyke, Timaru, and supported growth of the massive dairy processing facility at Clandeboye.

The 7MW power station provides a valuable contribution to local electricity networks. Revenue from electricity sales accounts for approximately half of the Opuha’s income.

Opuha Water acknowledges the need for a proactive approach to management of land, and land-based activities adjacent to the scheme’s lake and river boundaries. Additionally, Opuha is committed to use of its stored water in Lake Opuha protect, enhance, and maintain the river environment for the benefit of all river users. Opuha is committed to working with its irrigators and wider river community to achieve the goals and targets in the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and ensure a sustainable future for the river environment.

Opuha Dam Success – Case Studies & Reports

Simon Harris (Head Consultant at Harris Consulting) prepared researched the Opuha Dam’s impact on the provincial economy and community. The study was funded by MED. Download a copy of the report here.

A presentation by Opuha director and shareholder Nicky Hyslop showcases the economic benefit to South Canterbury of the Opuha Dam irrigation scheme. The presentation includes case studies and looks at opportunities for farming and community growth, and the challenge ahead. A copy of the presentation is available here.