The Success of the Dam


The Opuha scheme provides reliable irrigation for 16,000 hectares in the region.  
There are over 230 shareholder farmers who enjoy the benefits of reliable irrigation that has provided a huge boost to the local economy.  

A 2006 study by the Ministry of Economic Development evaluated the economic impact of the Opuha Dam over two “normal” seasons and found the dam added an impressive $124m to the South Canterbury economy and $20 million/year to the district’s households.  It also created around another 500 full-time jobs.  This report is available for download below under ‘Case Studies & Reports’.

As well as the increased value of the farms and the farming activities, the reliable irrigation has provided the impetus for the development and growth of downstream processing industries such as the various vegetable processing exporting operations in Washdyke and has supported the growth of the massive dairy processing facility at nearby Clandeboye.
The 7MW power station provides a valuable contribution to the local electricity network and the revenue from the electricity sales accounts for approximately half of the company’s income.

In most catchments and rivers in Canterbury, there is growing awareness of the need for a proactive approach to the management of the adjacent land based activities and the use of water from the rivers to maintain and protect the quality the river environment for the benefit and enjoyment of all river users. The Opihi catchment including the Opuha Dam is no different and the company is committed to working with its irrigators and with the wider river community to achieve the goals and targets of 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 an ex post study of the Opuha Dam’s impact on the provincial economy and community (this study was funded by the Ministry of Economic Development).
A copy of the report is available for download below:
adobe-pdf-logoHarris Consulting – Ex Post Study of Opuha Dam’s Impact, August 2006

Nicky Hyslop (Shareholder & Director of Opuha Water Limited) has presented to many groups on the case studies, opportunities for farming growth, community growth, the change and challenges ahead that Opuha has impacted on the South Canterbury region.  A copy of the presentation is available for download below:
adobe-pdf-logoThat Dam – Opuha in South Canterbury, The Changing Face of Farming