IrrigationNZ congratulates the government on its recently announced investment in water storage to unlock the potential of land in the mid-North for the benefit of the local community.
“Access to reliable water can make a vital contribution to local communities, economies and can significantly aid job creation,” says Elizabeth Soal, Chief Executive of IrrigationNZ.
The government said it will invest $18.5 million to help investigate and, if feasible, construct community-scale water storage and use options in Kaipara and the Mid-North.
“If done the right way, with sound technical, environmental and stakeholder guidance, water storage and well planned irrigation infrastructure can lead to very effective and efficient use of water for the benefit of all,” says Ms Soal.
IrrigationNZ believes that investments like this have multiple benefits by:
- providing an opportunity to carefully research and implement much needed water-infrastructure where minimal impact on the environment and input from stakeholders becomes integral to the planning process;
- providing communities with water security which opens up multiple options to diversify how they can use their land;
- protecting communities from the impacts of climate change – whether that be through reducing domestic water shortages, reducing flooding or accessing water for growing food;
- providing relief to waterways in summer by releasing stored water
People living in Kaipara and the mid North are likely to see similar benefits from the project as Northlanders experienced from the development of water storage in Kerikeri in the 1980s.
An impact assessment found after 30 years of the KeriKeri scheme operating it had created 1,300 additional jobs and was adding $106 million per year to the Northland economy. 6.5% of all jobs in the Far North District were due to the Kerikeri scheme’s operation. The assessment also found the scheme had not had a negative impact on the water quality of the surrounding waterways.
“If these infrastructure projects result in a secure water supplies for communities, and outcomes are sympathetic to the environment and fair for all stakeholders, then they can lead the way in creating a national strategy to carefully use water, a precious resource, to help New Zealand regions flourish and develop resilience in the face of climate change,” says Ms Soal.