31 May 2011

Canterbury irrigation scheme will boost economy - TrustPower

7:49 am on 31 May 2011

The electricity company planning a new irrigation scheme for the Canterbury Plains says it could provide an economic boost of about $500 million.

Electricity generator and retailer TrustPower has multi-million dollar plans for a development at its Lake Coleridge site, which would expand its hydro-energy production and increase the water available for irrigation.

The company's Canterbury development manager, Ian Lees, says the plan involves Lake Coleridge being used to store water collected when the flow in the Rakaia River is high, then used for irrigation in the summer months.

Mr Lees says the scheme could produce similar benefits to the existing Rangitata Diversion Race irrigation scheme, which would add about $500 million to the local economy.