Amuri Irrigation shareholders vote to proceed with the new Hurunui irrigation scheme.

Amuri Irrigation Company (AIC) shareholders have voted in favour of a proposal to construct the Hurunui Extension, a 7000-9,000 hectare piped irrigation scheme on the south side of the Hurunui river.

This area has suffered from the impacts and effects of drought over recent years and a secure irrigation scheme will bring certainty and security to those farming in the area. The AIC shareholder decision, which was made at a Special General Meeting on 13 March, will enable irrigation of farmland surrounding the towns of Hawarden, Waikari and the Scargill Valley. The proposal implements a revised and smaller scheme than the one originally proposed by Hurunui Water Project (HWP).

In late 2018, AIC made an offer to takeover HWP. The offer was made following the collapse of the original HWP project. The takeover offer was accepted by over 90% of HWP shareholders in early March. That offer was conditional on receiving sufficient interest in irrigation from Hurunui farmers and the support from AIC shareholders. 90% of AIC shareholders voted in favour of resolutions for the construction and financing of an irrigation scheme and almost 7,000 hectares of expressed interest in irrigation was received from Hurunui farmers.

“AIC shareholders have shared the vision of the AIC Board to take the social and economic benefits of irrigation with their neighbours south of the Hurunui.  We would like to thank our shareholders and the Hurunui farmers for their support thus far. We will continue to work hard towards getting a share offer into the market as soon as possible.” said David Croft, Chair of AIC.

AIC successfully irrigates over 28,000 hectares of land in the Amuri Basin taking water from both the Hurunui and Waiau rivers and recently delivered a $87M pipe upgrade of its open canal distribution network.

“We anticipate that one company managing most of the water use and environmental impacts of irrigation in the Hurunui River catchment will provide benefits for the community and efficiencies for all irrigators.” says David Croft.

The proposed irrigation scheme will utilise some of the consents currently held by HWP along with unused water within the AIC schemes, when available. The HWP consents currently authorise water use over a much larger (58,500 hectare) area whereas a smaller development reduces the environmental risk.

AIC needs to invest in water storage in the future to allow for higher minimum flows in the Hurunui River. A single water storage facility will provide increased reliability both North and South of the Hurunui River.

AIC ensures that all its farmers hold Farm Environment Plans (FEPs) and offers education and training to its farmers for nutrient management and irrigation efficiency. FEPs specify any improvements that farmers need to make to their infrastructure and management. New irrigators supplied by the scheme will have FEPs that require efficient irrigation systems from the outset and be subject to the same rigorous oversight and regular audits as existing irrigators.

As plans for the construction and development of the scheme progress, we will ensure that our community is kept well informed.


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