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$0.39m for community irrigation and water storage

25 August 2008

MAF grants $0.39m for community irrigation and water storage

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) today announced seven successful grant recipients under its first funding round of the Community Irrigation Fund (CIF) which provides support to promoters of community irrigation and water storage schemes.

Approximately $390,000 (incl. GST) funding up to 2011 / 2012 has been allocated for six projects in the South Island and one project in the North Island. This includes $250,000 (incl. GST) for the 2008 / 2009 period.

The successful grant recipients include Barrhill Chertsey Stage One (Mid Canterbury), Strath Taieri Irrigation Scheme (Central Otago), Dairy Creek Irrigation Scheme (Central Otago), Mount Ida Dam (Central Otago), Hurunui Community Water Development Project (North Canterbury), Tarras Community Water Scheme (Central Otago), and Wairarapa Regional Irrigation Scheme (Wairarapa).

``Water is a vital resource. With increasing demands and the likely impacts of climate change, helping rural communities adapt to climate change is becoming increasingly important. Raising investor and community support for schemes can be an expensive exercise and this fund aims to help promoters overcome the high costs of raising support for their schemes,’’ says MAF’s Director General, Murray Sherwin.

``I congratulate the recipients on their initiatives towards community irrigation and water storage which delivers towards an important national priority. Land-based sectors and communities also play a key role in this priority and I encourage them to consider the benefits of such schemes in their regions.

``The availability of these funds is in recognition of the importance of community irrigation and water storage projects to rural communities. The funds are available to be put to good use and we encourage potential recipients to apply under the next round. It is important applicants also understand the criteria to qualify and we will be raising further awareness on the fund and criteria over the next few months,’’ Sherwin said.

The criteria used to assess the applications are based on potential impacts of the activities funded, potential impacts of the completed scheme, the ability of the team to deliver on activities and the overall value for money.

The CIF was established in 2007 and is a contestable fund of $6.4 million (GST incl) ($5.7 GST excl) spread over an eight year period. It is part of Government’s wider sustainability and climate change initiatives. The grant funds up to half of the cash costs of appropriate activities.

Applications for the next funding will close in February 2009.

ENDS


For further information, visit:

http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/rural-nz/cif/


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Fact Sheet

Community Irrigation Fund


1 Overview

Community Irrigation Fund (CIF) – Helping rural communities adapt to climate change by assisting promoters of community water storage and irrigation schemes raise support.

The CIF aims to build resilience in agricultural producers and rural communities and ensure their long-term economic growth within sustainable environmental limits by reducing the risks they face from water shortages caused by climate change.

• The CIF helps agricultural producers and rural communities adapt to climate change by assisting promoters of community water storage and/or irrigation schemes overcome the high transaction costs of generating investor and/or community support.


Funding

A total of $5.7 million (excluding GST) ($6.4 million including GST) spread over eight years (2008/09 to 2015/16) is available to assist with the cash costs of generating investor and/or community support.

• The Fund is contestable and financial support for up to 50 percent of valid costs is available to successful applicants, for up to four years.

• There is no minimum or maximum level of grant for any one group. However, because the amount available for grants is limited, the value of grants given to any group may be based on the area of land to be irrigated and/or the volume of water to be stored.

• Grants can be used for activities such as: supporting a project manager or public affairs coordinator; promotional and communications activities; facilitating discussions with the community on relevant issues; developing a prospectus for potential investors; investigating a range of potential scheme funding arrangements; facilitating farmer investment; and investigating possibilities for the multiple use of water by communities.

• Grants cannot be used for activities such as: capital expenditure or the physical construction of schemes; pre-feasibility or feasibility studies; activities more appropriately funded by other Funds or organisations; assisting with non-cash costs; participation in statutory processes or litigation; local or central government fees or charges; legal and bank fees; long-term or on-going costs of an organisation/project beyond the grant period; and retrospective costs.


Assessment

The assessment process is based on the information provided by applicants. A panel consisting of MAF staff and external experts assess applications and make recommendations for funding. The Deputy Director General (Policy) makes final funding decisions on behalf of MAF. The Minister for Agriculture is not involved in this decision-making process.

• Applications are prioritised on the degree to which they: benefit a community-based organisation; demonstrate how the proposed scheme will help the applicant group adapt to climate change; demonstrate how the proposed scheme will improve the use of water in its locality; demonstrate how grants will contribute to raising investor and/or community support for the proposed scheme; have a sound business case, including technical feasibility of the scheme; demonstrate potential for economic, environmental, social, recreational and cultural benefits; demonstrate farmers’/producers’ commitment to invest in the scheme; propose measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate potential adverse environmental effects; and already have, or have attempted to get, the endorsement of the local community, environmental groups, local iwi and local government.


Other Funds

The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) also provides grants on a contestable basis for different stages of the development of water storage and irrigation schemes. The difference between CIF and SFF is that the CIF focuses on assisting scheme proposals while the SFF supports projects that contribute to improving the performance of the land-based productive sectors, for example, it provides grants for pre-feasibility and feasibility studies for water storage and irrigation schemes.

• More information on SFF can be found on: http://www.maf.govt.nz/sff/


ENDS

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