Today, MPI has announced an allocation of $520,000 towards the Hurunui Water Project through the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF).
The funding has been welcomed by the Hurunui Water Project (HWP) Chief Executive Alex Adams.
“We’re very pleased to have signed a new IAF agreement with MPI which now enables us to get started on the project feasibility work needed to take the scheme forward.”
The IAF funding will help restart the HWP by supporting the Initial Steps Programme. This focuses on refining the project’s layout, scoping the comprehensive work programme, and re-engaging landowners and shareholders following the lengthy consenting process which put the project on hold.
“Now that we have the consents in hand we are keen to progress the project development work that MPI is co-funding. It has been many years since the consent application stage (2009 and 2011) and we’re talking with our shareholders to gather their thoughts on what has changed in relation to farm irrigation. Once we have had those conversations, the engineering and scheme layout work will follow on.”
MPI has also reserved further IAF grant funding of $3.3m to support a Stage 1 full feasibility work programme that is conditional based on the outcomes of the Initial Steps Programme.
“HWP really appreciates both the Initial Steps Programme funding and particularly the indication by MPI of support through the Full Feasibility stage that will take the scheme to construction contract ready - water user agreement stage late in 2017.”
Martyn Dunne, Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries says the IAF helps support the development of irrigation infrastructure proposals to the stage where they are investment ready.
“By providing funding for the Initial Steps Programme and reserving funds for the Full Feasibility Programme through the IAF, we are backing the HWP to give effect to their consents and get the scheme underway.
“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.” says Mr Dunne.
The IAF helps support the development of irrigation infrastructure proposals to the stage where they are investment ready, which means they must be commercially robust and demonstrate a high level of community support.
The Government also supports these projects through Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd, which acts as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure development.
Environmental opportunities offered by water storage include more consistent river flows in summer and reduced pressure on ground water sources. Water storage can also support urban water management.