Thursday 27 September 2018
IrrigationNZ says the announcement that Hunter Downs won’t be proceeding is a lost opportunity for South Canterbury. The
irrigation scheme has received over $4 million in investment to this point.
“The scheme had the potential to significantly boost the Waimate economy, create jobs, improve people’s standard of
living and help resolve water quality problems,” says Andrew Curtis, Chief Executive of IrrigationNZ. "It’s
disappointing that a scheme with wide reaching community benefits won’t proceed."
“Much of Environment Canterbury’s plans for improving water quality in the South Canterbury coastal area rely on the
development of the irrigation scheme to reduce pressure on groundwater and augment the Lake Wainono Lagoon. Hunter Downs
still wants to use its consent to augment the Lake Wainono Lagoon, but the other environmental impacts of the scheme not
proceeding will need to be worked through.”
"While farmers benefit from irrigation development, so do local communities. Irrigation projects are difficult to get
off the ground if farmers are the sole funders of major infrastructure projects. There have now been numerous studies
completed of New Zealand irrigation schemes and all demonstrate that irrigation have significant benefits for local
communities and create substantial new tax income for the government,” says Mr Curtis.
“Other countries are increasing their investment in water storage to recognise that their communities and economies need
access to a secure water supply in a changing climate. New Zealand needs to keep making similar investments to
future-proof our water resources and food production, and secure our export income.”