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Funding Tarras irrigation scheme included in Long Term Plan

MEDIA RELEASE


February 21, 2013

Funding Tarras irrigation scheme included in Long Term Plan

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) has voted to amend its 2012-22 Long Term Plan (LTP) to include a proposed investment in the Tarras irrigation scheme.

When councillors considered the issue yesterday, ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said the consensus was that the community and environmental benefits associated with the proposal offered a compelling case to include it in the LTP.

Cr Woodhead said the financial risks are not considered excessive, and more certainty would be provided by the ORC conditions associated with the proposal.

The regulatory roles that ORC carries out can be managed through rigorous internal processes, as we already do with a number of other dual functions that are part of our core business.

Tarras Water Ltd has asked the council to make an initial investment of $3.5 million in the scheme, through the purchase of redeemable preference shares. It has also asked ORC to contribute to fixed charges for five years after the scheme is commissioned, which is estimated to be September 2014.

“The Lindis is a water-short area, and the future of sound environmental management, farming and the local economy is based on the availability of reliable water.”

“The irrigation scheme will bring certainty of supply and support the transition from deemed permits, when they expire in 2021, to resource consents. This means that, should the scheme proceed there will be enough water to supply local farms, and leave more residual water in the Lindis River,” Cr Woodhead said.

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