Government supports new water supply trial in Gisborne district

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Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) are pleased to announce a new project receiving a $250,000 boost through the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF).

The funds will go towards the Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) Trial led by the Gisborne District Council. The trial aims to recharge the Makauri Aquifer to provide a reliable water supply for existing irrigators and to extend the current irrigated areas of the fertile Poverty Bay Flats.

Gisborne District Council’s Mayor Meng Foon said the funding from MPI, matched by the Eastland Community Trust, has supported the research in developing a trial MAR in the declining Makauri Aquifer.

“The aquifer supplies nearly a third of all irrigation water on the Poverty Bay Flats and is a critical part of our economy – the value of irrigation water from the aquifer is estimated at over $6.6 million/year,” said Mayor Foon.

“It’s also the source of springs and wetlands and these values are also under threat.

“A MAR injection is one of the tools being considered to recharge water levels in the aquifer. It will tell us if it’s possible to increase the amount of water in the aquifer with minimal impact on the water quality and environment.

We’re also carefully considering environmental and cultural impacts on the waterways involved with the community, before proceeding to the next step.”

Martyn Dunne, Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries sees the project as a valuable investment for the Poverty Bay Flats community.

“We are pleased to commit $250,000 to this new project as having reliable water availability is a major contributor to economic gains for the agriculture and horticulture industries,” said Mr Dunne.

“IAF is a mechanism we use to support sustainable primary sector growth in the regions; helping to achieve the government’s goal of doubling the value of primary industry exports by 2025.

“Water availability is a major factor in investment confidence for agriculture and horticulture.”

MAR is a method used to increase the level of water in an aquifer. This trial will test an injection of surplus water from another source into the aquifer through a bore.

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