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Still time to have a say on irrigation on the Plains

Still time to have a say on irrigation on the Plains

It’s hoped a survey will provide information about the level of interest in a community-led irrigation system on the Rangitāiki Plains.
Rural landowners on the lower Rangitāiki Plains are being asked to complete the survey, to find out what interest there is in setting up a community–led scheme.

The Lower Rangitāiki River Water Management Working Group is behind the survey. The group of farmers, rural interests and representatives from Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Whakatāne District Council has been set up to determine whether there is a significant level of interest in a community-led irrigation scheme on the lower Rangitaiki Plains and what the next steps might be.

Mr John Howard, local farmer and member of the Working Group, explained the process since a public open day late last year.

“The feasibility of a community irrigation scheme on the lower Rangitaiki Plains has been discussed for several years. A preliminary study was completed with some funding from central government and the results were shared with councils and the rural community.

“The next logical step is to find out what sort of interest there is out there in the farming and orchard community. Once we know the level of interest, the community itself can make a call about whether the idea has wings and what might be involved to take it to the next stage.

“I would encourage landowners to do the survey not just thinking about their needs now, but keeping in mind how the climate has changed over the last 20 years and how it will change over the next 20 years. Consider how the Braemar water scheme started and its current demand – there is every possibility that an irrigation scheme could be just as sought after in the future on the Plains. But we need landowners to have their say.

“The survey closes soon, so we encourage landowners to complete it soon,” Mr Howard said.

This background information and a link to the survey can be found on the Regional Council website www.boprc.govt.nz/irrigation. The survey closes in two weeks.

Ends

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