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Council support for water scheme

The management team and farmer-shareholders behind a regional irrigation scheme centred on the Hawarden and Waikari communities have renewed confidence in the future of the scheme with the announcement of early support from Hurunui District Council through a share purchase.

The potential funding boost will contribute to the remaining work required for the scheme to progress through the feasibility phase through to construction commencement.

The predominantly farmer-shareholder scheme has a long history and was formally structured in 2008 with the formation of the Hurunui Water Project as a limited liability company to advance the project. Other shareholders include Mainpower and David Teece, owner of Eskhead Station.

“It has been a long journey for our farmer-shareholders who are committed to creating a stronger and more resilient Hurunui District, through sustainable water use and agricultural development, said Hurunui Water Project CEO Chris Pile.

“The combination of strong shareholder support, as well as the support we are receiving from Hurunui District Council, will enable us to focus our efforts on delivering this irrigation scheme and its associated benefits to the Hurunui.”

The scheme has evolved to comprise a distribution system consisting of a network of pipes that transport water from the Balmoral intake and on-plain storage facility, to farm boundaries throughout the command area.

“We are confident that the scheme will deliver results beyond the local farming community. It’s about future-proofing and protecting the region against droughts that impact harshly not only on agricultural productivity but the stability and sustainability of our communities.

“From those very early discussions some twenty years ago, what has evolved is a scheme that will result in significant and much needed regional socio-economic benefits at the same time as looking after the environment we operate in,” added Pile.

The current focus for the company is to refine the project design, preparing for construction capital raising, and progressing resource consents. This includes working alongside early contractor involvement partner, Rooney Group on an on-plains storage solution, investigating and firming up locations and dimensions of the on-plains ponds, upstream canals and intake infrastructure.

Snapshot on the Hurunui Water Project

Command area: 43,000 hectares

Target irrigated area: 21,000 hectares

Scheme application rate: 4mm ha/day (0.46 l/s)

Shareholders: 196

Ordinary shares issued in 2010; product disclosure statement for water right shares expected March 2018

Construction preparation from 2019, with first water delivered 2021/22.

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