Thursday, January 26, 2012

Irrigation Fund’s first project great news for Hawke’s Bay

This week’s announcement of the first project as part of the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) is great news for the Hawke’s Bay region.

The go-ahead for the project delivers on the Government’s promise to lift economic growth through efficient use of water storage.

The Government and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council will jointly fund a $3.3 million feasibility study of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Project.

This project, with its storage dam on the Makaroro River, has the potential to provide security of supply for Hawke’s Bay farmers, improve flows in summer and enhance recreational opportunities.

It stands to unlock enormous productive potential in the region, with the amount of irrigable land likely to increase from 6000ha to around 22,000ha.

I always say that one of our greatest competitive advantages is water. It’s our “liquid gold”. But we haven’t done a good enough job of storing, allocating and utilising this wonderful resource.

Smart irrigation infrastructure development is key to building an innovative competitive and sustainable rural sector.

This announcement is a big step in the right direction.

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