$2.5 million for irrigation project welcome potential boost

Published: Tue 11 Dec 2012 05:32 PM
11 December 2012
$2.5 million for irrigation project a welcome potential boost for jobs and the environment
The government’s announcement that it is funding half of the $2.5 million Wairarapa Water Use Project to investigate the feasibility of developing water storage, alongside the Greater Wellington Regional Council, is warmly welcomed by Federated Farmers.
“Water is the lifeblood of farming, which is why Federated Farmers welcomes Primary Industries Minister David Carter’s announcement this morning that the government will add this funding from the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) to look at the feasibility of this project,” says Federated Farmers water spokesperson Ian Mackenzie.
“This announcement means Wairarapa is potentially a huge step closer to securing a brighter economic future for its farmers and everyone else in the region.
“If this project, which is also being funded by the Greater Wellington Regional Council, goes ahead, an additional 30,000 to 50,000 hectares of drought prone Wairarapa farmland could be irrigated. This could be worth an additional $400 million into the region’s GDP each year.
“Federated Farmers lobbied long and hard for greater central government support for water storage projects, especially in drought prone areas of New Zealand. These would ensure farmers and communities have more resilience in time of drought and more consistency for their farming systems.
“New Zealand wants environmental sustainability in terms of water and land use. Building water storage for irrigation purposes would help Wairarapa farmers achieve this by easing the burden on the region’s water catchments by using stored water instead of taking directly from them.
“If you think the weather is going to get hotter, it’s not a bad idea to store some water.
“This is now the seventh water storage scoping project to receive funding from the IAF, proving the government listened and is taking action where it is needed.
“Getting the ball rolling on these sorts of projects is the first step. If we can get the project built it will means more jobs for all New Zealanders, better outcomes for the environment, and more resilient communities,” Mackenzie concluded.

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