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Community water initiative will bring results

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health,
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education,
Minister Responsible for Public Trust

Progressive Leader

05 October 2006 Press release
Community water initiative will bring results

Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton opened the Wai-iti storage dam near Wakefield, in the Tasman district, today and said it was a very impressive result from a community initiative which spanned almost fifteen years.

"The Wai-iti Water Augmentation Committee represents all the irrigators in the Wai-iti Valley and the efforts of this committee on behalf of the community have been almost immeasurable. They played a vital role in developing a detailed knowledge of the natural groundwater system in the Wai-iti Valley, and in encouraging the augmentation project," Jim Anderton said.

"This community will benefit in many ways. A little over a week ago, I launched the Opuha Dam Study in Canterbury. Agriculture grows at about twice the rate of the rest of the economy and the study shows that even when farmers irrigated part of their farms productivity increased, even the 'dryland' part of their farms. The study also found that the dam contributed an extra $124 million to the regional economy each year.

"I believe there will be economic returns and many positive outcomes flowing from this dam as well as making for a stronger community. There are recreational pay-offs for the community too. The Central Plains Water scheme is considering an international standard artificial white water kayaking course within their plans.

"Irrigation schemes involving storage can help augment environmental flows in rivers. They can provide flushing flows which are important for the integrity of channels and habitats. And water storage means less water is removed from rivers and streams during times of peak demand than in schemes without storage.

"Water is a scarce resource. We need to make sure our scarce resources are used as efficiently as possible. We are facing complex and crucial water management issues all over New Zealand. Central and local government have to work together in partnership with the region to put in place the schemes we need for the future. The support the Government gave this scheme in the feasibility stage, through the Agricultural Marketing Research and Development Trust is an example.

"I'm confident this dam will benefit this region. We're here to celebrate its completion and I have much pleasure in formally declaring the Wai-iti storage dam open," Jim Anderton said from Tasman today.

ENDS

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