29 Jul 2011

Irrigation scheme shareholders vote for reservoir

1:39 pm on 29 July 2011

If all goes to plan, the Waimakariri Irrigation scheme in Canterbury will have a large storage reservoir ready to supplement its summer water supply by the end of next year.

This week, the 215 farmer shareholders voted in favour of the proposal to build a reservoir of up to eight million cubic metres on a 122ha site that the irrigation company bought several years ago.

The scheme currently has resource consents to take water from the Waimakariri River to irrigate 18,000ha of farmland.

Its chairman, cropping and livestock farmer Gavin Reed, says the company will now have to decide whether to go for a lower cost gravity-fed reservoir or a higher capacity pumped option.

Mr Reed says the task now is to finalise a design for the reservoir and go to the bank for finance to cover the estimated $18 - $20 million cost.

He says farmers will get a second vote to approve financing arrangements. Further consents will be needed to construct the reservoir .