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Water storage and irrigation vital to regional economic development

Federated Farmers is pleased to see that the government recognises water storage and irrigation as a vital aspect of provincial economic development.

Shane Jones, Regional Economic Development Minister, confirmed that water initiatives were to be included in the annual $1-billion-dollar spend towards revitalising provincial New Zealand.

Federated Farmers Water Spokesperson Chris Allen said this was a reassuring message for our provincial communities, many of which struggle to attract investment.

“Water is the lifeblood for many, especially our farmers who simply wouldn’t be in business without it.

“Irrigation in particular brings great benefits economic and social, you just have to look at Mid Canterbury and how that region has prospered since it was introduced back in the 90s.

“For every dollar an irrigator makes, at least another three dollars is created in the local community.

“As a food producer reliant on exports, our country needs consistent, reliable growing conditions. Irrigation provides that continuity of supply that is high quality and can be delivered to market, benefiting both the consumer and grower.”

Chris says localised water initiatives can also grow provincial capability to manage future adverse events and adaption to climate change, while ensuring long-term benefits flow downstream to communities.

“In those regions that have water storage and irrigation, we know it generates greater investment and incentives for the processor, manufacturer and farmer, creating opportunities to add value to their produce.

“Drought mitigation and increased production, which the Minister referred to, fundamentally relies on irrigation and water storage.”

The advent of precision agriculture increasingly adopted by irrigators, demonstrated the value reliable water systems could provide with environmental benefits too.

“Well managed and designed irrigation is effectively precision rainfall, creating the right time, right amount and right place, which is best for the farmer and environment.

“We look forward to working with the Government to help rural New Zealand achieve its potential,” says Chris.

Source: Federated Farmers

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