Irrigation Acceleration Fund

The Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) is intended to help realise the potential for irrigated agriculture to contribute to sustainable economic growth throughout New Zealand. The 2011 Budget allocated $35 million over five years to support the development of irrigation infrastructure proposals to the 'investment-ready' prospectus stage.

Irrigation infrastructure investment-ready proposals must be technically and commercially robust and demonstrate a high level of community support. The proposals will inform the analyses and decision making of potential investors in both scheme construction and commissioning.

The IAF's primary purpose is to support regional-scale, rural, water infrastructure proposals. The IAF will continue support for strategic water management studies and strategies and community irrigation schemes, that was previously available through the Sustainable Farming Fund and the Community Irrigation Fund.

The IAF, as far as is practicable, adopts a multi-year development programme-based approach, subject to achievement of milestones and confirmation that the proposed project continues to be viable.

Crown Irrigation Investment Limited

In January 2013 the Government initiated the establishment of a new company that manages funding for investment in construction of regional-scale schemes. 

For more information contact Crown Irrigation


IAF funding is available for three distinct components to target the delivery of investment ready rural water infrastructure proposals:

  • Regional rural water infrastructure
  • Strategic water management studies
  • Community irrigation schemes.

Regional rural water infrastructure

Assist the development of large scale, regionally significant water harvesting, storage and distribution proposals. They must be consistent with agreed regional approaches to the sustainable use and management of water.

Strategic water management studies

Assist the development of regional approaches to integrated water management, particularly the potential of rural irrigation-related infrastructure to contribute to the sustainable use and management of water for future generations.

Community irrigation schemes

Assist both new smaller scale community scheme development and capital upgrades of existing community scheme infrastructure. They must be consistent with agreed regional strategies.


The IAF has been allocated $35 million as a multi year appropriation over five years (2011/12 to 2015/16). IAF grant contributions can provide for the staged irrigation scheme development process – from concept to investment ready. IAF Guidelines for Applicants Appendix 1 sets out what can and cannot be funded.

Qualifying applicant's contributions must be equal to or greater than IAF funding i.e. the IAF contribution can be up to 50 percent of the programme cost.

Applicants cannot include other Crown monies in their funding contribution. The principle being that Crown money cannot be used to match IAF funding.

There is no minimum size for IAF grants.

The duration of IAF funding can be up to five years.


Proposals (with some variation for Strategic Water Management Studies) are assessed against the following criteria:

  • use of collaborative processes early in the planning phase
  • demonstrated commitment to good industry practice in scheme operation and management
  • fit with regionally agreed approaches to the sustainable use and management of water
  • expected direct and indirect net economic benefits to New Zealand
  • expected co-benefits
  • ability to deliver the programme
  • work programme that fits with good industry management practice (see IAF Good Practice Guidelines)
  • programme costings and contributions

See the IAF: Guidelines for Applicants for detail on the criteria.

For information about applying for the fund, see Applying to the IAF.

Approved projects

See: Irrigation Acceleration Fund – Summary of Project Progress


Last Updated: 03 March 2014

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

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