Three new board members for Central Plains Water

Press Release – Central Plains Water Trust

As Central Plains Water progresses ever closer to “getting bulldozers on site,” three new board members were elected at the annual general meeting held in Darfield last week.November 4, 2011

Three new board members for Central Plains Water

As Central Plains Water progresses ever closer to “getting bulldozers on site,” three new board members were elected at the annual general meeting held in Darfield last week.

Todd Muller, Damon Summerfield and Gary Wilson were elected to the board for the first time. They join Geoffrey Stevenson, John Donkers and Paul Munro, all of whom were re-elected. Chairman Pat Morrison, deputy chairman Doug Catherwood and Willie Palmer also continue as board members.

Derek Crombie, general manager of Central Plains Water, said that he was delighted with the skills and background that the new board members would bring to the project.

“Todd brings strong central government expertise to the board backed by his experiences in the kiwifruit industry while Damon and Gary are both well known in the district and also have great dryland arable experience.

“Also heartening was the general support we received from farmers and shareholders at the meeting. There is a strong feeling of unity behind this project,” he said.

Central Plains Water is on the cusp of starting construction, 11 years on from when the idea was first floated. The consent appeals are almost resolved and the company has secured the Synlait Band 2 and 3 subservient consents.

“We are currently reviewing the development options for the scheme. It is likely that the scheme will be staged with the demand for uptake being created initially around cluster groups in Te Pirita, Sheffield, Greendale and Darfield. The advantage of this scheme is that it allows reliability to be developed as the scheme progresses.

“The critical success factors for this scheme are securing funding, access to a reliable water source and economical land and construction prices,” he said

“The immediate availability of some consented water (unallocated Band 2 and 3 water), and other already consented water, would allow a smaller scheme to proceed such as the 5000-hectare Te Pirita area or the larger 20,000-hecatare area between the Rakaia and Selwyn rivers.

“Of this larger area, approximately 50% of the land is currently irrigated via expensive groundwater systems. The favourable costs of consented water provided by a staged scheme are an incentive to scheme owners for fast tracking development.

“We are currently refining the design to establish costs and a staging programme in which areas between 5000Ha and 20,000Ha would be developed as stage 1 of the main scheme,” Derek Crombie said.

Two workshops held in the Central Plains area during the earlier consultation stages were almost unanimous in their support for a piped water distribution system compared with an open channel system.

Biographies of the three newly elected board members are:

Todd Michael Muller
Todd currently holds a senior external relations role for the Fonterra Co-operative Group with a focus on strategic relationship management with the local government sector and iwi. Todd’s career has been strongly agribusiness focused with eight years senior management experience for ZESPRI International Limited with accountability for shareholder services, corporate relations and innovation.

More recently he was the Chief Executive of Apata Limited, a large kiwifruit and avocado post-harvest facility based in the Bay of Plenty and has recently been appointed to Director of Plant and Food Research Limited by Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, Minister of Science.

Todd brings strong central government relationships to the board, built from his three-year stint in the private office of Prime Minister Bolger in the mid 1990s. He has significant experience of working with multiple stakeholders to deliver complex commercial and political strategies.

Damon Lester Summerfield
Damon and wife Judith farm a 220ha dryland arable farm between Darfield and Sheffield and have lived in this community for 30 years. He has been very supportive of CPW from the very beginning and is currently on the board of Ritso Soc. and Sheffield Water Limited. As a dryland farmer he appreciates the needs of the farming sector and sees his position on the board as one where he can become involved and help other farmers and farming organisations.

Gary R. Wilson B.Ag.Sc.(Hons)
Gary, in partnership with wife Heather, farms 500ha in two blocks in Kirwee, all irrigated, growing grain, small seeds, process crops and finishing lambs in the winter. They have two sons who are part of our farming business. Gary is a past board member and chairperson of the Kirwee School BOT and current member of Kirwee Township Committee and Courtenay A&P Association. Gary has strong views on delivering cost effective and reliable irrigation water to the central plains. Gary sees one of the keys to the success of Central Plains water is building the entire headrace in one process.


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