24 Jul 2008

Irrigation hearing moves to Darfield

1:09 pm on 24 July 2008

A hearing into the $400 million Central Plains Irrigation Scheme has moved out of Christchurch for two days, to Darfield.

Darfield, 40km west of Christchurch, is close to the project site.

The resource consent hearing began in February. A panel of commissioners is hearing from those who want to build the scheme, and its opponents.

The applicants want to take water from the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers to feed a new dam and irrigate to irrigate 60,000 hectares of farmland.

Farmers from the Selwyn district told the commissioners in May that the scheme would replace the use of ground water for irrigation and allow hundreds of deep well pumps to be shut down, in the central plains area.

Dry land farmers also say having a reliable water supply would allow them to cope with drought more effectively and give them a wider choice in the crops they can grow.

Opponents say the rivers will be badly effected by the loss of water.