CIF Project - Strath Taieri Irrigation Scheme

Grant No: 08/02

Last updated: 16 September 2010

Contact details

Name of Applicant Group: Strath Taieri Agricultural and Rural Tourism Trust
Contact person
: Mike Cooper
: c/o Delta, PO Box 1404, Dunedin 9054
Telephone 1
: 03 479 0439

Project details

Status: Finished
CIF funding
: $15,000
Total project funding
: $66,000
Proposed start date
: 2008-07
Proposed finish date
: 2009-04
Region: Otago

Strath Tieri Irrigation Scheme Final report
Strath Tieri Irrigation Ownership and Management Structures

Project description

The Strath Taieri is an area of approximately 13,000 hectares located at an elevation between 200m and 290m between the Rock and Pillar Range and the Taieri Ridge some 50km inland of the Otago coast. The proposed Strath Taieri Irrigation Scheme project proposes diverting water from Stony Creek and Burgan Stream, water which currently feeds into the Taieri River below Strath Taieri, into the existing Loganburn Reservoir at the head of the Taieri River catchment. The scheme proposes raising the level of the existing Loganburn weir and reservoir by 700mm creating an additional 11m m³ of storage. This water can then be released into the Taieri River when required allowing a mix of existing and new irrigators in the Strath Taieri area to extract water by pumping for their on farm irrigation purposes.

The issue/opportunity

The Strath Taieri area, which includes a number of existing irrigators, relies predominately on the lower Taieri River for irrigation water. Seasonal low flow periods often see the lower Taieri River at minimum flows resulting in severe water restrictions and unreliability of supply. The proposed additional water storage in the Loganburn Reservoir will provide water to the Strath Taieri area during natural low flow periods in the Taieri River and allows approximately 1200Ha of land to be irrigated with 90% reliability.

The context/background

The Strath Taieri area is a lower South Island east coast region already susceptible to drought conditions. With the predicted changes in climate as discussed in the NIWA's report "Changes in drought risk with climate change" the area's average return period for a current 1:20 year drought is expected to decrease to 1:8.5 yrs by the 2080's (low to med scenario) or 1:6.5 yrs (med-high scenario). Associated evapotranspiration rates will increase correspondingly resulting in an increased demand for irrigation water.

Availability of irrigation water from the Taieri catchments for the Strath Taieri area is controlled by the minimum flow levels set for the Taieri River at both SH87 at Sutton and at Outram. As various Minimum flow levels in the Taieri occur, the amount water abstraction allowed falls. As the catchments become drier, the trigger levels will be activated earlier. The proposed scheme, being storage based, will provide improved reliability of supply and extend the times when the Taieri River is above the low flow trigger points.


The CIF grant will be used to supplement funding of:

  • Professional advice on how the project will complement the Upper Taieri Water Management Steering Group's SFF project.
  • Professional advice on scheme funding options and administrative structure for scheme implementation and management.
  • Professional advice in working through operating agreement issues for the whole of Taieri water users.

Project update: June 2009

The group is continuing to address RMA issues focused on security of water. In addition during the period significant work was progressed on identifying appropriate company and management structures with the full report currently being finalised.

A meeting on 26 May of upper Taieri Irrigation representatives, Strath Taieri users and the Otago Regional Council progressed the whole of Taieri users' understanding of an integrated catchment management structure. The meeting also provided an opportunity to reconfirm farmer irrigation areas under the Strath Taieri Irrigation Scheme.

Project update: February 2009

The group is continuing to address RMA issues to deal with security of water issues. However most efforts are being put into better understanding of the whole of Taieri water use and looking for an integrated catchment management structure for that. Progress has been made to the extent that some groups are now looking at supply agreements within sub catchments. Strath Taieri water users are meeting on 1 April to progress the issues of supply agreements and structures.

We have also met with ORC to progress procedural matters and ensure that they understand the stages that the group hopes to undertake to progress the overall project.

At the meeting on 1 April we will also be looking at a management tool MapChat that we have worked with a PhD student from the university of Otago with and resolving metering issues.

We are trying to engage water users with practical solutions to problems as a means to build trust and understanding in the benefits of working collaboratively at a number of levels.

We are also looking at a company structure to take over from a Trust structure for the group.


Last Updated: 13 January 2011

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