14 Apr 2015

Neighbourly gesture boosts water supply

3:22 pm on 14 April 2015

A mid-Canterbury irrigation company is sharing some of its water supply to help a neighbouring company replenish its drought-depleted storage ponds.

New Zealand farmland

Photo: 123rf

Chief Executive of Rangitata Diversion Race Management Ben Curry said a combination of circumstances has allowed it to help out Rangitata Water Ltd., which has irrigation ponds on the south side of the river.

"At the moment we've got relatively low irrigation demand, we're coming towards the end of the season and we've had some reasonably cold weather and as a consequence the demand on water from the Rangitata Diversion Race is not as high as it normally would be at this time of year," he said.

"In addition, unusually, our power station is off line for maintenance and so we are able, through a consent sharing process that we agreed with Rangitata Water Limited a few years ago, to offer them some water and we've been giving them about four cubic metres a second and we've upped that today to eight cubic metres a second."

Rangitata Water Limited has been unable to top up its storage ponds during the summer drought because it's only allowed to take water from the river when it's running high.

A director, Gary Rooney, said getting a helping hand from its neighbour has allowed its irrigators to continue watering during a very difficult season.