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A new $750,000 irrigation buffer pond, designed to improve water quality in Oamaru, has been officially opened.
The Lower Waitaki Irrigation Co (LWIC) began building the pond at Ferry Rd, near Papakaio, in May.
Company chairman Chris Dennison said the pond, which had a capacity of 126,000cu m of water, could save 13 million cu m of water that would otherwise have been lost to the sea.
Mr Dennison said the pond would mean more reliability for LWIC shareholders, and would ensure the company could maintain the Oamaru town supply.
''The pond will also mean that new automation can be put into auxiliary races [which come off the main supply race], which will allow for better water capture and redistribution, as well as ensuring that farmers at the extremities of the scheme will have increased reliability.''
The pond would also offer a more reliable water supply to the Alliance meat-processing plant at Pukeuri in the event of a flood on the Waitaki River.
Although swimming was not allowed for safety reasons, the pond was now open to the public for fishing and non-motorised watersports, he said.