Today MPI has announced a $345,500 funding boost for the Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme through the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF).
The funding will support feasibility investigations and design of a major piped extension to increase the Scheme's current irrigated areas by 4,500 hectares. If feasible, the extensions will further increase water-use efficiency and reduce ground water use.
The MPI investment was welcomed by Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Limited (MHIL) Chairman, John Nicholls.
"The MHIL growth projects are a result of using water more efficiently and the scheme investing in enhancements such as water storage, telemetry and automation. No new water is being sourced for these developments," says Mr Nicholls.
"We are extremely pleased with the support that this project has received from farmers in the Ruapuna area at the top of the MHIL scheme. A 1600 litres per second piped extension is currently being investigated for development in this area.
"New farmer irrigators joining the MHIL scheme will be required to operate under the Rangitata Diversion Race land use consent which provides for farm environment plans, nutrient budgeting and on-farm auditing of practices. This demonstrates MHIL's commitment to efficient use of water and adherence to good farm management practices."
Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy Director-General Sector Partnerships and Programmes, Ben Dalton, believes government support of water investigations is essential for the livelihoods of regional communities, and in turn the New Zealand economy.
"MPI's Irrigation Acceleration Fund invests in the development and construction of irrigation infrastructure and all schemes must meet criteria which considers environmental, cultural, social, recreation and economic benefits," says Mr Dalton.
"MPI has committed $345,500, matched by MHIL to progress an investigation that has the potential to deliver many benefits to the Mayfield Hinds community. Irrigation allows for more reliable production which in turn allows increased employment opportunities on farms and within wrap-around industries such as rural supporting services.
"Modern water infrastructure encourages better use of water, and a better environment as those who have access to water through the scheme have a collective responsibility to monitor and limit water use, nutrient applications and run-off to meet consent obligations."
The Irrigation Acceleration Fund is one of the mechanisms we use to support sustainable primary sector growth in the regions, to help achieve our goal of doubling the value of primary industry exports by 2025.