Monday, September 19, 2011

Irrigation infrastructure investment steps up the pace

The future for New Zealand’s irrigation infrastructure has strengthened with the Irrigation Acceleration Fund now open for business.

Announced as part of Budget 2011, the Irrigation Acceleration Fund provides $35 million over five years to support the development of proposals to the ‘investment ready’ prospectus ready stage.

The development of smart irrigation infrastructure will boost economic development and also contribute to the sustainable growth of our primary sectors.

NZIER research shows the fund could support 340,000ha of new irrigation which could boost exports by $1.4 billion a year by 2018, rising to $4 billion a year by 2026. But this is not about irrigation at all costs.

One of our greatest competitive advantages is water. It’s our “liquid gold”. But to date we have not done a good enough job of storing, allocating and utilising this wonderful resource.

The Irrigation Acceleration Fund provides an opportunity to develop new water infrastructure proposals that promote efficient water use and good environmental management.

Irrigation good practice is essential if we are to protect our vital water resource for tomorrow.

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