The Hunter Downs irrigation scheme is progressing to the next
stage, a pre-construction assessment.
Its investment offer attracted the minimum amount of $4
million needed to proceed.
Hunter Downs Irrigation Ltd chairman Andrew Fraser said there
was a strong uptake from landowners, with actual
subscriptions already over the 20,000 shares required.
The subscribers included farmers and landowners within the
potential 60,000ha command area from Waimate to Otipua, plus
some from outside who were keen for the scheme to go ahead.
The offer period for raising capital has been extended until
tomorrow, with an amendment to the Investment Statement and
''There's plenty of positive feeling out there and extending
allows some people more time to complete their
applications,'' Mr Fraser said. The company was still trying
to contact landowners it had not yet been able to reach.
''We want to ensure that everybody is as informed as possible
and has the opportunity to participate.''
Some farmers were just coming to terms with the impact of
Environment Canterbury's new water quality regulations, he
''For many, the potential of the scheme to mitigate some of
the current restrictions around land use change was as an
important a consideration as the ability to access water for
ECan's zone committee overseeing the Hunter Downs area has
identified the irrigation scheme as part of its preferred
scenario to achieve water quality outcomes by augmenting
flows. The Wainono Lagoon, especially, was likely to benefit.
The share uptake would contribute to a $15 million programme
to assess whether the scheme was technically and economically
viable, and to further work on resource consents, land
access, and procuring construction specialists and capital in
the next two years.
The scheme has consent to take and use up to 20.5cumecs from
the Waitaki River.
If the coming work showed the scheme was viable and enough
capital was raised, construction was expected to start late
in 2016 and water could be delivered from the beginning of
the 2018-19 season.
- by Sally Brooker