Study to explore water use for BOP economic growth
A grant of up to $50,000 from the Irrigation Acceleration Fund will see economic growth opportunities for the Bay of Plenty identified through a water study focused on effective water use and sustainable options for development in the region.
The funding was announced today by Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy at the 2017 annual Bay of Connections and Regional Growth Programme forum, where a refreshed Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan was also released.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Deputy Director-General Sector Partnerships and Programmes, Ben Dalton, says water is fundamental for environmental sustainability and economic growth.
"A good water management strategy will ensure appropriate use of water and improved environmental outcomes in the region. Those who have access to water have a collective responsibility to monitor and maintain it for the benefit of everyone, whether their use is for economic, environmental or recreational purposes.
"Freshwater is an important enabler for economic growth and is the cornerstone of many key industries such as agribusiness, horticulture, Māori land utilisation and tourism. The study will support future growth in the Bay of Plenty."
Funding for the study ($50,000) comes from the MPI's Irrigation Acceleration Fund and has been matched ($50,000) by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Freshwater Futures Programme.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and Bay of Connections Chairman, Doug Leeder says the study will hone into water at a 'granular level' looking at individual waterways and users to create a targeted action plan that addresses issues locally.
"The study will explore the current environment, including barriers and opportunities to ultimately equip the region with up-to-date information to ensure water is allocated and used as efficiently and effectively as possible.
"Insights from farmers, growers, major landowners and industry representatives will feed into the study, ensuring the right people are involved early in discussions and well-informed investment decisions can be made.
"Water is an 'enabling opportunity' that underpins growth in the wider Bay of Plenty. Regional Council and others are already doing a great deal to care for the region's water quality and quantity. This study will build on existing work and knowledge to help shape our future.
"Fresh water is a taonga (treasure) – it is the lifeblood of our natural environment and vital for the health of our community. It is also crucial to ensuring we can capture a number of other opportunities in the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan."
Mr Leeder says the study will also support and align with the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management discussions that are already underway in some local communities.
The Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Growth Study was launched in May 2015, followed by the launch of the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan in October 2015.
The refreshed Action Plan reflects completed milestones and new opportunities for the region.
The Action Plan is regionally led and is supported by central government and represents a collaboration between local and central government, business, iwi and Māori.
The implementation of the Plan is overseen by the Bay of Connections with the support from central government's Regional Growth Programme. Regional economic development is a key part of the government's Business Growth Agenda.