Irrigation NZ has applauded a $136,000 grant from the
Government's Irrigation Acceleration Fund to help assess the
viability of expanding irrigation on the south side of the
lower Waitaki River.
The Lower Waitaki south bank integrated irrigation study will
examine future options for infrastructure development and the
potential benefits and impacts of irrigation between the
Waitaki dam, near Kurow, and Black Point, between Duntroon
It was "fantastic" to see the IAF deliver on what it was set
up to do, which was support the potential for irrigated
agriculture to contribute to New Zealand's sustainable
economic growth, IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis
The IAF's contribution will be matched dollar-for-dollar by
the community. The project is being facilitated and managed
by the Waitaki Irrrigators Collective Ltd.
The collective's policy manager, Elizabeth Soal, who is
overall project manager, was excited about the information
the project would provide.
"This part of the Waitaki catchment presents a number of
challenges for effective water management; two relatively
small, predominantly border-dyke schemes built by the then
Ministry of Works which have potential to expand their
command areas, some smaller water bodies [tributaries of the
Waitaki] that are potentially overallocated, and a number of
individuals with mining right consents that will expire in
"The project is really step one in a process that we will
undertake in conjunction with the local community to
determine how we can improve irrigation in the area so that
it is sustainable in every aspect in the medium to long term"
Ms Soal said.
The project comprised a series of studies that would examine
the social, economic and environmental impacts of current
irrigation and future irrigation potential; identification of
potential water harvesting, storage, and infrastructure
upgrade options; and options for consolidating resource
consents and providing more reliable water for individual
It will run for a year, with a final report and
recommendations expected in December next year.
Four other irrigation projects have also received IAF grants
this year, including the North Otago Irrigation Company
Tilverstowe extension, the Manuherikia catchment strategic
water study, the Ruataniwha Plains water storage project
feasibility study and Tarras Water Ltd.
Negotiations were under way for a further four projects. The
IAF will invest $35 million over a five-year period in