Irrigators and irrigation industry representatives have left
their biennial conference confident about the future.
More than 350 industry representatives, farmers and
irrigation scheme managers met in Napier last week to discuss
the future of irrigation in New Zealand.
Irrigation New Zealand held its biennial conference and expo
in Napier, with the express purpose of giving delegates the
chance to view industry development in the Hawkes Bay where
the proposed Ruataniwha water storage scheme is planned.
But Canterbury was never far from the spotlight.
Aquaduct NZ and its founder Gerard van den Bosch were awarded
the 2014 IrrigationNZ Innovation Award.
Aquaduct's entry (alongside associate company Bosch
Irrigation Ltd) included its ground-breaking solution for the
manufacture of irrigation pipe for the Valetta Irrigation
Scheme's new 84km underground pipe network.
And for the first time the Ron Cocks Memorial Award was
awarded to two individuals - both Cantabrians.
Retired Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry policy manager
Grant McFadden, of Christchurch, and farm business consultant
and rural valuer Bob Engelbrecht, of Ashburton, were
announced joint recipients at the conference dinner.
And in yet another plus for Canterbury, at the conclusion of
the conference, Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd announced
its first investment would be in the region's largest
prospective irrigation scheme, Central Plains Water Ltd.
The Government-backed bridging investor for regional water
infrastructure projects will invest $6.5 million in the
scheme for a period of five years.
IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said it would not
only pay for the infrastructure but also had the potential to
create ''hundreds of new downstream jobs and businesses''.
''On the back of this announcement, the prospects for the
region look much brighter,'' he said.
''The scheme's approach aligns with the Canterbury Water
Management Strategy's goal of moving towards more sustainable
and reliable irrigation water and is underpinned by variation
1 to the regional land and water plan so it also reflects how
the community wants water to be managed,'' Mr Curtis said.
- by Ruth Grundy