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BCI Scheme Experiencing Significant Growth

BCI Scheme Experiencing Significant Growth

The Ashburton district will experience a significant burst of economic activity with the further expansion of the BCI irrigation scheme. A farmer capital raising process closed recently with applications for around 1500 litres per second of new irrigation water, an irrigable area of close to 3,500ha.

“The recent uptake of new water will see the scheme experience a fantastic 30% growth for the year” says General Manager John Wright.

The growth is assisted through the development of a new pipeline in the Valetta area which is being developed through an infrastructure sharing arrangement with Valetta Irrigation Limited. “The sharing arrangement is a great opportunity for Valetta Irrigation to get some value from overcapacity in their primary delivery pipeline from the RDR, and provides the BCI Scheme with a pragmatic delivery solution which ensures there is no duplication of irrigation infrastructure in the area” says Mr Wright.

Other areas to experience growth in the scheme are Ashburton Forks and Methven.

The BCI Scheme is a joint venture between farmer cooperative Barrhill Chertsey Irrigation Limited and local electricity lines cooperative EA Networks.

EA Networks and joint venture Chairman John Tavendale says “we are all excited by the recent growth in the irrigation scheme and the economic growth it will provide to the district. The joint venture development is a great example of how a high level of cooperation can benefit the whole community”.

The BCI Scheme has also been progressing with consents for the stage two development in the area between Barrhill and Chertsey. It is intended that a further capital raising prospectus for this project will be released over the next few months.

“The stage two project has the potential to fully utilise the remaining 1500 litres per second in the first tranche of water the joint venture planned to sell over the first five years of the development” says John Wright.

“There is a real opportunity to secure some of this highly reliable irrigation water in this area when the pipe network goes through.”

The expansion of the irrigation scheme has also been assisted through the granting of a Land Use consent by Environment Canterbury last year. The new consent allows the BCI Scheme to expand while managing nutrient losses to water through farm intensification on behalf of irrigator customers.

“Significant effort is going into the development of Farm Environment Plans and audit systems to ensure that all users of BCI Scheme water are proactively managing their farm intensification to minimise any negative impact on the environment” says Mr Wright.


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