10 Dec 2015

High Court gives Canterbury irrigation scheme the nod

7:56 am on 10 December 2015

Work on a major North Canterbury irrigation scheme will begin again after a High Court decision ruled in its favour.

The Environment Court ruled against consents for the Waitohi Irrigation Scheme in September, but Canterbury Regional Council and the company behind the scheme - Hurunui Water Project - appealed the decision.

The proposed water storage is planned to sit along the length of the upper Waitohi River and provide irrigation to more than 58,000 hectares around the Hawarden area.

The High Court this week ruled in favour of the appeals, and Hurunui Water Project's chief executive, Alex Adams said the scheme's layout could now be confirmed and further costing worked out. Mr Adams said work had stalled for most of the year because of court processes.

"Now we can confidently expect the consent to be granted by Ecan in a matter of a few weeks."

"The next step is to get started on a priority project elements so that we can carry on with the investigations that are needed to confirm the costs of the infrastructure and continue down the feasibility stage.

"That will enable us to go back to farmers with some real offers and talk to farmers about what they want in terms of irrigation."

The scheme hopes to be supplying farmers by 2018.

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