Southern irrigation schemes get funding boost

The Government has given five rural communities in the South Island half a million dollars for local irrigation projects The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is providing $562,000 over four years through a community irrigation fund (CIF).

"The CIF helps rural communities make use of their water resources and adapt to climate change by helping community water irrigation schemes get off the ground," deputy director-general Paul Stocks announced today.

The money is to help in the planning and community and stakeholder consultation needed before dams, aquaducts and pipelines can be built.

The five projects funded in this CIF round are in North Otago, Tasman, North Canterbury, South Canterbury, and Central Otago.

The CIF was recently expanded to also fund council-led water projects, and the Canterbury Water Management Strategy was allocated $219,000 in March.

Half of the latest funding will go to the North Otago Irrigation Company scheme, which will get up to $241,500 over four years.

The scheme takes water from the Waitaki River and distributes it to the Downlands farmland and the Waiareka Valley, and a second stage is being planned to double the area irrigated to 20,000 hectares, taking water into the Tokarahi and Kakanui Valley areas.

Lee Valley storage dam in the Tasman District will receive up to $115,000 over two years to prepare a 13 million cubic meter storage dam in the Upper Lee River.

The scheme will distribute water to the Waimea Plains, increasing the security of water supply to the 3800ha already irrigated and the water supply to the townships of Richmond and Bridgewater, and will roll out irrigation to a further 2500ha.

The Waihao Downs irrigation scheme, in South Canterbury will receive up to $93,000 over four years for a farmer-led plan to take water from the Waitaki River into the Waihao Basin west of Waimate. The scheme will irrigate 6800ha hectares.

At Tarras in Central Otago funding of up to $50,000 will next year help plan for water to be taken from the Clutha River and distributed over 8000ha, as well as being used in homes, fire fighting and light industry. This scheme will replace and expand on the Lindis Scheme and individual bores.

And conditional funding of up to $62,000 will go to the Hurunui water project, in North Canterbury, where farmers want to dam the South Branch of the Hurunui River and build a weir downstream of Lake Sumner to irrigate up to 42,000ha.



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