Hurunui Water Project (HWP) shareholders voted unanimously to accept an offer from Amuri Irrigation Company (AIC) to purchase resource consents associated with the HWP at a Special General Meeting Shareholder meeting held yesterday afternoon.
In early October AIC made the purchase offer to the HWP Board following the unsuccessful HWP Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) Water Rights Share Offer that closed on 21 September. The offer did not receive sufficient interest to advance the proposed HWP irrigation scheme.
“While we are obviously pleased with the outcome of the HWP shareholder vote there is still a significant amount of work to be done before the resource consent transfer is a certainty. We are working with some urgency to complete this process,” said David Croft, Chair of AIC.
AIC irrigates over 28,000 hectares of land in the Amuri Basin, taking water from both the Hurunui and Waiau rivers. AIC has recently delivered a $87M pipe upgrade of the open canal network.
“While the HWP project was not successful, we know there is a strong desire for irrigation to be delivered to farmers south of the Hurunui River. This area has suffered from the impacts and effects of drought over recent years and an irrigation scheme will bring certainty and security to those farming in the area,” said David Croft.
A recent social assessment study undertaken by AIC, within their catchment, shows that irrigation in the area has led to an increase in the presence of younger families and an increase in ethnicity and diversity. These changed demographics have in turn helped to boost medical services, increase the range and success of local businesses including builders, vets and rural supplies and benefited community activities. The study shows there has been a marked increase in the number and proportion of paid employees in the area covered by irrigation with associated higher household incomes.
AIC is proposing a smaller piped irrigation scheme of 8000-10,000ha between the Hurunui River and Hawarden. Initial reliability from the proposed AIC scheme would be equivalent to the HWP offering with an increase in reliability when an integrated storage facility is constructed in the future.