Construction will proceed under an interim agreement with the State Government, although issues related to the ownership and operation of the dam and its irrigation scheme have not been resolved. The work is to begin immediately, to avoid an extra A$5M (US$3.6M) increase in the capital cost. Initially, site surveys and planning work will be done, to prepare for the construction of the dam across the Meander river during the dry summer months of 2006-07. In the meantime, the Minister confirmed that Tasmanian Water Solutions, the consortium originally contracted to develop the project with private finance, had pulled out.
Kons said he was investigating how best to finance the dam, which would provide 24,000 mega litres of irrigation water, drinking water for Deloraine and Westbury, and power for 4000-5000 homes each year.
Financing options include the Government turning it into a standard public civil works project and funding most of the A$35M (US$25.6M) itself, helped by A$2M (US$1.47M) from Hydro Tasmania and A$2.6M (US$1.9M) from the Federal Government. However, its preference remains building the dam as a joint public-private project, with local farmers continuing to contribute about A$7M (US$25.6M), agribusiness investor Roberts A$2M (US$1.47M), and the State Government, Hydro and Commonwealth A$26M (US$19M).