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What is described as "a considerable amount of money" has already been promised by local landowners towards the $200,000 cost of a feasibility study for the scheme, but organising committee chairman Don McLenaghan, of Dunback, saidmoney was also needed for studies on reticulation, necessary for the resource consents.
He said the scheme, which would include a lake inland from Dunback, would also receive a dollar-for-dollar subsidy on any money raised by the community.
The Waihemo water conservation scheme had gained support from the Otago Regional Council, the Waitaki District Council, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Maf) at a meeting in Palmerston last October.
Maf Irrigation Acceleration fund team member Damien Diack, of Wellington, said recently the fund would deal with irrigation proposals that were "investment-ready".
A further meeting to gauge support for the Waihemo water conservation scheme will be held at the Coronation Hall, Dunback, on Monday, February 20, at 8 pm, Mr McLenaghan said.
He said if support was forthcoming, it would herald a new era for the Waihemo and Shag Valley area.
The lake that would be formed at Pineside beside State Highway 85 inland from Dunback would provide 100ha to 110ha of water which could be used for fishing, kayaking and water skiing.