Content supplied by Irrigation NZ
IrrigationNZ says North Canterbury will be revitalised on the back of the Waitohi Irrigation and Hydro Scheme, which was granted resource consent this week.
"Hurunui District, like many other rural areas, has experienced gradual population decline and subsequent school and local service closures over the past 20 years."
"The announcement that Hurunui Water Project’s Waitohi Irrigation and Hydro Scheme can now proceed has the potential to completely reverse North Canterbury’s fortunes,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.
“The supply of reliable water will create certainty which will encourage greater investment in a range of land use options. With North Canterbury’s unique climate allowing a wide range of crops to be grown, the district is well placed to experience an economic boom," says Mr Curtis.
Mr Curtis says environmental concerns around intensive farming and increased irrigation would be taken care of through audited farm plans.
“Farmers and irrigators will have to perform to industry good management practice standards which will be monitored and adapted to pre-empt issues."
Mr Curtis says credit must be given to the Hurunui Water Project board and staff for driving the project through to consent stage, a long and difficult process which took more than a decade.
“The collaborative process overseen by Environment Canterbury which endorsed the Waitohi as a water storage option has proven it can provide a win-win for all."
"Water storage and irrigation go hand in hand with growing rural communities."
"Residents in North Canterbury should be excited about the opportunities ahead for them."