Putting pressure on new scheme

Robyn Wells.
Robyn Wells.
The North Otago Irrigation Company is pressure-testing the "top half" of its stage 2 expansion.

But the company’s chief executive Robyn Wells would not comment on completion dates for the $57 million irrigation scheme expansion when approached by the Otago Daily Times.

She was cautiously optimistic the scheme would be handed over to farmers shortly. The 114km expansion of the irrigation network was undergoing hydro-testing, or testing at a pressure "higher than you are ever going to operationally encounter" to see if there were any leaks. A leak was  discovered last weekend, and this  had been fixed, she said. The first six sections of the eight-section expansion were tested on Tuesday but Mrs Wells said she would not comment on the results of the tests until the end of the week.

"We’ve been bitten too many times."

The scheme was originally due to begin operating last September, but despite contractor McConnell Dowell’s New Zealand and Pacific business managing director Roger McRae visiting North Otago twice in December to update the company’s farmer-shareholders on delays to the project, Mrs Wells said at the time  the company had not been given enough information to be confident of the dates McConnell Dowell provided.

The irrigation season officially started on September 1 and although stage 1 had been checked and was ready to go, there was no current demand due to the weather.



Testing time

Sections being pressure-tested:

Section 1, Queens Flat

• Section 2, Peaks

• Section 3, Five Forks

• Section 4, Dunrobin

• Section 5, Round Hill

• Section 6, Raupo Creek/Serpentine

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