Today, the Ministry for Primary Industries announced an $895,000 funding boost for the Flaxbourne Community Irrigation Scheme through the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF).
The Flaxbourne Community Irrigation Scheme is the vision of a group of landowners who want irrigation water to transform an area of Marlborough’s arid east coast into more productive land.
The announcement was welcomed by Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman who said council had been supportive of the project because it would increase returns from primary production which, in turn, would contribute to the growth of the whole region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“This project has the potential to boost Marlborough’s annual GDP by $15 million – and that would bring direct benefit to many downstream businesses here.”
The IAF funding was critical to the project moving ahead because council did not directly fund projects like this, he said. Council financial assistance for the preliminary planning and investigation phase of the scheme would be repaid through targeted rates paid by scheme members.
The next phase of the scheme is the completion of investigation and preliminary design to identify and price the options for its delivery.
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.
“Our commitment of $895,000 will help progress the scheme with engineering design, securing of sufficient water, undertaking technical work for consents and developing a detailed financial proposal,” says Mr Dunne.
“The scheme aims to provide irrigation water to around 2,200 hectares for horticulture and seed crop land uses.
“Primary sector growth in our regions is vital to New Zealand’s economic growth as a whole. The IAF is a mechanism we use to achieve the government’s goal of doubling the value of primary industry exports by 2025.”
Government also supports these projects through Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd, which acts as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure development.