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Greater Wellington welcomes irrigation commitment

Monday 9 May 2011

Greater Wellington welcomes irrigation commitment from government

The government's pre-budget announcement committing an extra $35 million to the investigation of irrigation schemes has been welcomed by the Greater Wellington Regional Council which is currently exploring a potentially major water use scheme in Wairarapa.

Chair Fran Wilde said that the Wairarapa Water Use Project was seen as a significant economic driver in Wairarapa and would also have major benefits for the environment through the long term management of the water resource.

"The scheme we are investigating could cover around 30,000 hectares and considerable work has been undertaken with the local community to identify demand and viability, together with potential environmental, social and cultural impacts," Fran Wilde said.

"We have established a leadership group comprising environmental, agricultural, local government and iwi and in the annual plan for the forthcoming year we are proposing to invest $750,000 to continue the feasibility work.

"This is an exciting project that could bring significant economic benefit to the region and the fact that the fact that the Government has listed our project in its pre-budget statement recognises this potential. We are already engaged with MAF and look forward to working with them on the enhanced scheme.

"The irrigation announcement complements the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management, which was also announced today, and the timing of both these announcements is also excellent in terms of Greater Wellington's development of our new Regional Plan, which will be critical to the future of water management in the region," Fran Wilde said.


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