Irrigating the Lower Waitaki Valley
Changing times in the Lower Waitaki Valley meant independent irrigators’ historical mining-right water allocations were due to expire.
With many irrigators converting from border dyke to efficient spray irrigation, the client took the initiative to explore even more effective and responsible use of their water resource.
How to combine water allocation in the area to be efficiently and cost-effectively distributed was a key question within the client’s proposal to merge two irrigation schemes and multiple independent irrigators.
Responding with a mini-workshop, the client’s needs as well as their existing ideas were captured enabling an informed discussion with stakeholders on important decisions around the best way forward for the community and its farming businesses. This allowed the Opus project team to assess different aspects of the project to derive a water balance for the area based on available climate and soil data. Implications for farms converting to spray irrigation in the area were evaluated and environmental impacts of current irrigation in the area assessed including potential (positive and negative) environmental impacts from possible changes.
Options for infrastructure improvements were explored and rough order cost estimates were provided, culminated in our “Implications of Farming to the Volume of the Consent” report which included a summary aimed at a wider, non-technical audience.