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Farmers recognised for dam good job

30 October 2008


Farmers recognised for dam good job

Federated Farmers today congratulated a group of South Canterbury pioneers who have been recognised for a dam project that has enabled significant areas to be put into production creating new jobs and wealth for the region.

The Opuha Dam water storage project has won both the Supreme Award and Commercial and Industrial category in the Canterbury Region Resource Management Awards 2008 announced yesterday.

This week Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson used the Opuha Dam example when calling on political parties to think seriously about water storage as part of New Zealand’s infrastructure plans.

“Infrastructure is about setting our nation up for success for decades to come. If we can harness New Zealand’s enormous water resources getting water in the right place at the right time, our world-beating farmers will be able to convert more grass into food and fibre for more export receipts,” Mr Nicolson said.

“Water storage is critical to farming and New Zealand’s future. Current allocation systems see farmers too vulnerable to drought and floods. In the past year we have had both and last season’s drought is widely acknowledged as a significant contributor to our current recession. Water storage is an investment and response to the current financial crisis and will enable farmers to farm New Zealand back to prosperity.

“Not only will new storage help increase exports, we know from the Opuha experience that the towns, cities, boaties, fishermen and environment also benefit,” said Mr Nicolson.

Federated Farmers life member and chairman of South Canterbury Farmers Irrigation Society, Tom Henderson, said the award was an acknowledgement of farmers’

stewardship when using a water resource.

Judges said the project contributes to the sustainable management of resources by taking water and using it in a way that enables people and communities to provide for their social and economic wellbeing.

“It is not rocket science, it is not a complicated principal. Storing water when it falls and releasing it when it is required benefits the whole community,” Mr Henderson said.

Mr Henderson says he is keen to see the Opuha Dam example used throughout New Zealand.

“Hopefully this inspires and gives confidence to communities all over the country to undertake similar projects. We have 10 years experience of operation, so there is no need to use theories and guess work anymore. We know it works,” said Mr Henderson.


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