ORC to take fresh look at support for irrigation

The Otago Regional Council needs to review its support for irrigation development, chief executive Peter Bodeker says.

About two years ago the council agreed on a policy offering capital support of up to $2 million, or equity investment or underwriting, to enable irrigation infrastructure developments.

It would only be offered after normal commercial borrowing and equity investment options had been exhausted, and the reasons for their rejection identified.

The policy was put to the test with the Tarras Water Ltd irrigation scheme, which the council declined to fund because it was considered too risky.

However, the council was pushing ahead with its minimum flow proposal for the Lindis River, which would restrict the amount of water available to the catchment.

Mr Bodeker said at a recent public meeting on the Lindis the issue of funding for irrigation development was raised.

Since then, the council had investigated how it would address such funding, especially as a result of Local Government Act changes, he said.

''Is the current policy appropriate?'' he said.

Management would prepare a paper for the council to consider at a future meeting.



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