20 Apr 2011

Major irrigation consent issued

6:14 am on 20 April 2011

A Far North farming operation has obtained one of Northland's largest irrigation consents in more than two decades.

Northland Regional Council says Sweetwater station, west of Kaitaia, can take several million cubic metres of ground and surface water from the Awanui River for irrigation annually for up to 20 years.

Sweetwater station is managed by Landcorp. It was recently sold to the Crown to be part of a Treaty settlement with Te Runanga o Te Rawara.

The 2500 hectare property has two dairy units milking more than 2500 cows, as well as a drystock unit with 2000 sheep and cattle.

Landcorp says the water will be used to irrigate the two dairying units, to ensure their future viability.

However, Chief executive Chris Kelly says it is still to be resolved with the Crown about who will pay to set up the irrigation system.