ORC welcomes Govt investment in Manuherikia catchment
October 31, 2013
ORC welcomes Government investment in Manuherikia catchment water investigation
ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead has welcomed the Government’s decision to contribute $750,000 towards the next stage of the Manuherikia catchment water investigation.
Mr Woodhead said ORC could see the potential for substantial regional development in this area through improved irrigation, and had provided around $370,000 to support the pre-feasibility stage investigations.
“The Government decision to further fund and support the investigation is excellent news for this community and the region,” he said.
“This is a vital project for Central Otago and the whole region. ORC has budgeted to provide $170,000 this financial year and $50,000 in the 2014/15 year towards the full feasibility study.”
“Together, the ORC funding, farmer funding, and the new Government investment should now be sufficient to successfully complete the feasibility study, which will take a catchment-wide approach to water management and associated land use.”
Mr Woodhead said the Manuherikia project is in line with Otago Regional Council’s Plan Change 1C to the Otago Water Plan, which aims to give greater certainty to communities transferring deemed water permits to resource consents (under the Resource Management Act) before they expire in 2021.
The plan change also seeks to promote co-operative approaches to water management, along with collective community management of local water resources.
ORC staff have been working directly with the Manuherikia irrigation scheme management group advising them on the regulations within the Otago Water Plan that any proposals need to comply with.
“With the expiry of deemed permits, more efficient and reliable methods of storing and transporting water will be required. The Manuherikia community is well on the way to achieving this,” Mr Woodhead said.
Mr Woodhead said the Manuherikia was a dry area and some parts of the catchment were water short. Consolidation and development of the irrigation networks would bring long term benefits and security to people faming there and open up new areas to receive irrigation.
The feasibility studies were crucial
to mapping the most-cost effective, efficient, and
sustainable irrigation options for water users in the
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the funding would help the community complete technical, environmental and economic investigations which began in the pre-feasibility stage.
“This has the potential to increase the reliability of the currently irrigated area, and increase the total area of fully irrigated land from around 15,000 hectares to 35,000 hectares,’’ Mr Guy said.
“The outcome of the feasibility study will provide enough detail for interested parties to make a commitment to invest in the project for the next stages,” he said.