12 Oct 2009

Final submissions due this week in irrigation hearing

9:03 am on 12 October 2009

A resource consents hearing for what would be the country's biggest irrigation scheme in New Zealand is due to be end this week.

The Central Plains Water Company is seeking approval to draw water from the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers to irrigate up to 60,000 hectares of farmland.

Initial plans included a large storage reservoir in the Malvern foothills to augment water from the rivers during dry periods.

That was dropped after the commissioners hearing the application indicated they would not approve a scheme that included the reservoir.

Final submissions will be heard this week and the commissioners are expected to deliver a decision early in the New Year.

Meanwhile, a hearing of applications to take and discharge water in the Upper Waikati catchment enters its third week on Monday.

Thirty five applicants are seeking more than 100 resource consents for water permits and associated land use and discharge rights for lakes, rivers and tributaries upstream of the Waitaki dam.

The hearing is scheduled to take until December.