13 Dec 2012

Irrigation scheme would change farming practices

8:54 am on 13 December 2012

Farming practices in Wairarapa will change radically if a planned irrigation scheme gets the green light.

This week, Wellington Regional Council and central government announced they would jointly fund an extensive feasibility report into the scheme.

The planned scheme could irrigate up to 50,000 more hectares of Wairarapa farmland.

Federated Farmers Wairarapa dairy chair Chris Engel says existing acquifers used for irrigation are fully subscribed and any new water for the region would be a positive development.

He says it would be great to have a scheme that supplied water right through summer, as at present intake has to be restricted when river levels are low.

Mr Engel says if the scheme is approved, farmers may have to learn new tricks, because many have established their farms under the current climatic conditions.