Irrigation extension commissioning

The North Otago Irrigation Co is commissioning its 385ha expansion this week.

Capital investment of $3.5 million for the added area has come from shareholder equity and company borrowing.

''This time last year we were celebrating the commissioning of an 800ha expansion in the Tilverstowe area and we were planning the next development project,'' company chief executive Robyn Wells said.

''Today, the commissioning of the Five Forks extension takes us one step closer to making water available to the widest possible area of North Otago for the benefit of the water users, the community and the environment.

''This means we have hit another milestone in our expansion plans and are now sitting at 60% of uptake of what we envision will be a 26,000ha scheme by 2016,'' Ms Wells said.

Chairman Leigh Hamilton, himself a farmer-shareholder, said it was a long-awaited opportunity for the Kakanui Valley to share in the Waitaki water resources.

''In doing so they will further contribute to the future wellbeing of our region.''

The company was now looking at the business case for the Kakanui Valley inclusion. It will hold an information meeting at the Five Forks Hall tomorrow, from 10.30am to 1.30pm.

Speakers include Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, ASB Bank rural corporate manager Ray Parker, URS engineer Ben Stratford and Walter Clarke from Rationale Group.

To register, phone Irene on (03) 433-1201 or email: isparks@noic.co.nz