Primary Industries Minister David Carter says the go-ahead for the Irrigation Acceleration Fund’s first project delivers on the Government’s promise to lift economic growth through efficient water use and storage.
Mr Carter welcomed today’s announcement that the IAF and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council are to jointly fund a $3.3million full feasibility study of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Project.
This takes the total investment in the Project so far to $4.8million, when combined with the investment in pre-feasibility stages already completed.
“This scheme stands to unlock enormous productive potential in the Hawke’s Bay region, with the amount of irrigable land likely to increase from 6000ha to around 22,000ha,” says Mr Carter.
The $35million Irrigation Acceleration Fund was announced in last year’s Budget and supports the development of irrigation proposals to the ‘investment ready’ prospectus stage.
“Projects will only succeed if they are committed to good industry practice that promotes efficient water use and environmental management, particularly around land-use intensification,” says Mr Carter.
“The Ruataniwha Water Storage Project, with its storage dam on the Makaroro River, has the potential to provide security of supply for Hawke’s Bay farmers, enhance the region’s recreational opportunities and improve river flows in summer.
“Smart irrigation infrastructure development is key to building an innovative, competitive and sustainable rural sector,” Mr Carter says.