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Community irrigation fund

Community irrigation fund

Applications for the first round of funding from the new Community Irrigation Fund are being called for, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said today.

The Community Irrigation Fund helps promoters of community water storage and irrigation schemes overcome the high costs of raising investor and community support for their schemes.

Jim Anderton said the fund aimed to build resilience in agricultural producers and rural communities, and ensure their long-term economic growth, within sustainable environmental limits, by reducing the risks they face from water shortages caused by climate change.

Major droughts in the past have cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.

“Adaptation to climate change is crucially important for agricultural producers and rural communities. The Community Irrigation Fund is an important part of this adaptation, and of Government’s wider climate change adaptation policy.”

Jim Anderton said $5.7 million (GST exclusive) would be distributed over the next eight years.

Applicants can receive financial support for up to 50 percent of the cash costs of raising investor and community support for community schemes, for up to four years.

The fund was contestable and would accept applications from 2007/08 to 2011/12, he said, with payments being made from 2008/09 until 2015/16. Applications for this funding round are scheduled to close in mid-March 2008.

“Applications are particularly welcome from promoters of community storage-based schemes who can demonstrate that their scheme represents a good use of the fund’s money.”

Grants can be used for activities that aim to generate investor and community support for community water storage and irrigation schemes. Activities which the fund might support could include:
supporting a project manager or public affairs co-ordinator;
promotional and communications activities;
facilitating discussions with the community on relevant issues;
investigating a range of potential scheme funding arrangements; and
investigating possibilities for the multiple use of water by communities.

Activities which grants cannot be used for include:
capital expenditure or the physical construction of schemes;
pre-feasibility or feasibility studies (which are potentially funded by MAF’s Sustainable Farming Fund);
assisting with in-kind (non-cash) costs; and
participation in statutory processes (e.g. resource consent applications) or litigation.

ENDS

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