The Canterbury Regional Council has granted resource consent for eight applications to take water for irrigation from the lower Waitaki river.
Surface and ground water will be taken from the Hakataramea catchment and the lower Waitaki river.
The applications include renewal of existing consents, taking water from tributaries of the Hakaramea when the river levels are above a minimum flow, and building dams to store the water.
Concerns had been raised by the Department of Conservation and Fish & Game about the impact of more irrigation on fish habitat and water quality.
The commissioners who heard the applications say, however, that that impact can be mitigated.
The term of the consents is 35 years.