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Farmers ready to put irrigation funds to good use

Farmers ready to put irrigation funds to good use

Federated Farmers says farmers will put to good use a $25m funding boost, from the recent Budget, for investigation and development of irrigation projects.

The Government has put $25m into the Irrigation Acceleration Fund through the next five years to kick-start regional irrigation projects.

Federated Farmers spokesperson on water, Ian Mackenzie, says the Government is quite right to identify nearly every part of New Zealand as being hit by drought in the past three years.

“Water storage for irrigation goes beyond drought relief though. Building water storage and delivery infrastructure will give far greater reliability of supply for farm operations as well as provide opportunities for finding solutions to some of our environmental issues while providing for recreation."

Mackenzie says different locations, project scale and community views, will result in different governing structures in different locations.

“But commercialising water delivery is not something that sits well with many New Zealanders. As Chairman of an irrigation scheme, I see clarity of purpose as important. I believe a cooperative structure provides for the best delivery and the longest term equity without exploitation of users,” he says.

“It also gives the best outcome for local communities to use the water resource for a whole range of purposes, from town water supply to recreational uses like sailing.”

ENDS

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