Community Irrigation Fund Factsheet

Overview

Community Irrigation Fund (CIF) - Helping rural communities adapt to climate change by assisting promoters of community water storage and irrigation schemes raise support and design schemes, and by assisting local government to develop water strategies that consider the potential for rural irrigation-related infrastructure.

  • The CIF aims 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.
  • The CIF provides grants to assist:
    • promoters of community water storage and/or irrigation schemes:
      • overcome the high transaction costs of generating investor and/or community support; and
      • carry out detailed engineering design for schemes.
    • local government to undertake activities contributing to a strategic plan for water management and that consider the potential for rural irrigation-related infrastructure.

Funding

  • A total of $5.7 million (excluding GST) ($6.4 million including GST) spread over eight years (2008/09 to 2015/16) is available to assist with the cash costs of generating investor and/or community support, detailed scheme design work and developing local government-led water strategies.
  • The Fund is contestable and financial support for up to 50 percent of valid costs is available for up to four years for generating investor and/or community support and up to two years for detailed scheme design to successful scheme applicants, up to three years for successful water strategy applicants.
  • There is no minimum or maximum level of grant for any one group. However, because the amount available for grants is limited, the value of grants given to any group may be based on the area of land to be irrigated and/or the volume of water to be stored, , the degree of public benefits built in to the design of the scheme, how far through the consent process the scheme is, the difficulty the project has in obtaining funding and the impact a water strategy is likely to have on water storage and irrigation schemes in its related region/district.
  • Grants to community schemes for generating investor and community support can be used for activities such as: supporting a project manager or public affairs coordinator; promotional and communications activities; facilitating discussions with the community on relevant issues; developing a prospectus for potential investors; investigating a range of potential scheme funding arrangements; facilitating farmer investment; and investigating possibilities for the multiple use of water by communities.
  • Grants to community schemes for detailed scheme design can be used for activities such as: site investigations to determine suitability of site; programme whole of life cost modeling and quality control planning; design development; work to meet formal statutory approvals; preparation of schedule of quantities; preparation of draft operation and maintenance manuals; preparation of risk analysis and management plan; preparation of tender documents; and preparation of contract documents.
  • Grants for local government-led water strategies can be used for technical reports; environmental impact reports; economic impact reports; social impact reports; development of evaluation criteria; writing a strategy; consultation with experts, stakeholders and public; providing information for communities and determining community preferences on the options; promotional and communication activities; supporting a project manager; and administration costs of project.
  • Grants to community schemes for generating investor and community support cannot be used for activities such as: capital expenditure or the physical construction of schemes; pre-feasibility or feasibility studies; activities more appropriately funded by other Funds or organisations; assisting with non-cash costs; participation in statutory processes or litigation; local or central government fees or charges; legal and bank fees; long-term or on-going costs of an organisation/project beyond the grant period; and retrospective costs.
  • Grants to community schemes for detailed scheme design can not be used for: pre - feasibility and feasibility studies; investigative surveys; economic studies; environmental impact studies and assessments; participation in resource consent hearing processes or litigation; local or central government fees or charges; administration of the construction contract; capital expenditure or the physical construction of schemes; legal and bank costs; calling and evaluating of tenders; assisting in negotiations with construction contractor; administration of construction contract; shop and as built drawings; technical assistance to construction contractors during the construction phase; assisting with in-kind (non-cash) costs; and costs already incurred.
  • Grants for local government-led water strategies cannot be used for: water strategies that don’t consider rural water infrastructure; funding infrastructure (e.g. irrigation schemes, hydrological monitoring sites, etc); feasibility studies for individual schemes; costs associated with legal action or opinion; processes associated with incorporating a water strategy into regional or district policies and plans; retrospective costs; and activities that are considered part of a council’s statutory role or normal business management, unless funding them can be justified on the basis of need.

Assessment

  • The assessment process is based on the information provided by applicants. A panel consisting of MAF staff and external experts assess applications and make recommendations for funding. The Deputy Director General (Policy) makes final funding decisions on behalf of MAF. The Minister for Agriculture is not involved in this decision-making process.
  • Applications from community schemes for generating investor and community support are prioritised on the degree to which they: benefit a community-based organisation; demonstrate how the proposed scheme will help the applicant group adapt to climate change; demonstrate how the proposed scheme will improve the use of water in its locality; demonstrate how grants will contribute to raising investor and/or community support for the proposed scheme; have a sound business case, including technical feasibility of the scheme; demonstrate potential for economic, environmental, social, recreational and cultural benefits; demonstrate farmers'/producers' commitment to invest in the scheme; propose measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate potential adverse environmental effects; and already have, or have attempted to get, the endorsement of the local community, environmental groups, local iwi and local government.
  • Applications from community schemes for detailed scheme design are prioritised on a two stage assessment process:
    • In the first stage preliminary assessment, applications will be judged on the degree to which they: benefit a community-based organisation; demonstrate how the proposed scheme will help the applicant group adapt to climate change; provide assurance that there is a low degree of risk and/or the applicants have the capability  to deal with risks that may hinder the scheme’s development; demonstrate how the proposed scheme will improve the use of water in its locality; have a sound business case, including technical feasibility of the scheme using design best practice; demonstrate potential for economic, environmental, social, recreational and cultural benefits; propose measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate potential adverse environmental effects from the infrastructure itself and on- farm; and already have, or have attempted to get, the endorsement of the local community, environmental groups, local iwi and local government.
    • In the stage two main assessment, applications will be prioritised on: the level of public benefits built into the scheme; where the project is at in obtaining the necessary statutory consents; the experience and track record of the consulting engineer; the technical skills of the nominated engineering team; the standard of the submitted methodology; the degree to which the programme addresses all key delivery dates; and if the price is a fair reflection of the project.
  • Applications for local government-led water strategies are prioritised on: the need for a water strategy in the region/area; the likely effectiveness of the activities proposed to contribute to a Strategic Plan for integrated water management; the potential impacts the study will have for rural irrigation-related infrastructure in particular how the project will consider: the potential of an area for new or enhanced irrigation-related infrastructure to optimise water capacity, water distribution and the achievement of community goals to provide an optimal long term position; indicate to promoters of infrastructure projects the community expectations they need to address; and improve the regulatory and planning environment in which the development of water storage and irrigation occurs.

Other Funds

  • The Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) also provides grants on a contestable basis for different stages of the development of water storage and irrigation schemes. The difference between CIF and SFF is that the CIF focuses on assisting scheme proposals while the SFF supports projects that contribute to improving the performance of the land-based productive sectors, for example, it provides grants for pre-feasibility and feasibility studies for water storage and irrigation schemes.

 

Last Updated: 12 January 2011

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