Mt Ida Water Storage Scheme

Grant No: 11/04

Last updated: April 2012

Contact details

Grantee: Hawkdun Idaburn Irrigation Company
Contact person: Nicola Kelland (AgFirst)
Address: PO Box 253, Alexandra 9340
Telephone: (03) 448 8028  027 610 2221

Project details

Status: In progress
CIF funding
: $10,000
Proposed start date: 1 July 2011
Proposed finish date
: 30 March 2012
: Otago
Related web links:

Project description

The purpose of this project is assist with generating investor and community support for the proposed Mt Ida Dam Water Storage Scheme. 

The issue/opportunity

The Mt Ida Dam water storage proposal aims to improve the reliability of water supplied for irrigation purposes, and expand the area able to be irrigated, from the existing Hawkdun/Idaburn system. This project aims to demonstrate to the community the benefits of the Mt Ida Dam proposal and quantify the economic benefits to individual farm businesses involved in the scheme.

The context/background

The Hawkdun Idaburn Irrigation Company Limited (the Company) and landholders in the Oturehua to Wedderburn area, including the White Sow Valley have been interested in obtaining a more reliable water supply for irrigation purposes. The existing Hawkdun
Idaburn race system relies primarily on run-of-the-river supplies via the 108 km long Mt Ida Water Race that was constructed initially for mining purposes in 1873.

The irrigation and stockwater system is based on gravity supply through open water races. The total area commanded by this race system (gross area of properties within the supply area) is 23,200 hectares. Agreements for supply total 3,585 ha on 70 properties. The Hawkdun Idaburn system has always been limited for water from late spring and irrigation is restricted in most years to ensure that stock and other high priority uses (Naseby, town and private pipe supplies) are met first. The choice between full irrigation for a few, or some water for as many as possible, has seen the greatest good for the greatest number prevail with this irrigation and water supply system.

The annual water quota under the agreement is 450mm over the agreement area. This is achieved under the roster if there is a sufficient water supply. Most water is supplied during the early months of the irrigation season, when streams have good supplies.

The Company obtained 35 year consents for the continued operation of the irrigation system in 2002 with expiry to occur in 2037. These consents included some 30 primary consents to take water for irrigation and domestic and stockwater purposes, and consents to continue with two water storage dams.

Additional water storage is required to both improve reliability and expand the area able to be irrigated.

A scoping study in 2003 identified a suitable dam site that warranted further investigation.  This site is 2 km upstream of State Highway 83 on the Ida Burn. The dam site commands land in both the upper Ida Valley (Oturehua) area and in the Wedderburn and White Sow areas in the Maniototo.

The proposal outlined in the feasibility study relies on integration with the existing Hawkdun Idaburn system both for water supply into storage from a wider catchment than the natural catchment at the dam site and potentially as an option for distribution of stored water.  The proposed dam is a 34m high earth embankment that can store 15.6Mm3 of water. This maximises the storage that can be achieved at the site.


For this project, individualised reports will be prepared for six properties demonstrating the economic benefits of irrigation to individual farm businesses involved in the scheme.  
The reports will be prepared according to the following process:

  1. Determining the current status quo financial returns for that subject property.
  2. Model the financial impact from changes in management without new irrigation scheme i.e. are there management or policy changes that can be implemented other than changes to the irrigation scheme?
  3. Model the objectives of the farm business under the new irrigation scheme.
  4. Model the farm business under the highest and best use with the new irrigation scheme.

The reports may also include analysis of different proportions of the farm under irrigation to determine the financially optimal area of the farm to be irrigated.

The project will also fund the costs of holding a community meeting, in which the financial returns of the proposed scheme on the six subject properties will be demonstrated, illustrating how a combination of the highest returning enterprises could be introduced into a farm policy, and demonstrating the potential financial returns from doing so.

Project Update: June 2012

Individualised reports have been completed. Community meeting will be held in mid-July to present the findings of these reports.

Project Update: February 2012

Reports have been completed and sent to four of the farmer participants. Work is progressing on the final two reports.

Project update: October 2011

Six farmers have been identified for the individualised reporting for Milestone 1. We are currently in the process of working through appropriate dates for visiting each client. We aim to have all of the individualised reports completed by 20 December 2011.


Last Updated: 21 August 2012

Contact MPI

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