22 Sep 2017

North Otago water scheme expansion finally turned on

5:00 pm on 22 September 2017

The $57 million pipeline expansion of the North Otago Irrigation Company's project has been turned on this week, a year later than planned.

Irrigation pivots

The water scheme that was first discussed in the 1980s has finally been turned on. Photo: Supplied

The first stage of the scheme was completed 11 years ago and the expansion was expected to be up and running this time last year, but was [http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/254886/waitaki-council-halves-irrigation-loan-offer

held back by problems with the new pipe].

North Otago Irrigation Company chair Leigh Hamilton said the water scheme has been talked about since the 1980s and the first stage of the scheme was built in 2006.

"From then to now is part of one process, so we built half of it and then we've had this expansion developed over the last 10 years and we're completing that now.

"Farmers have had a hard couple of years and we're a year late in getting water to them. There's an anxiety and anticipation, and it's been a struggle for some waiting for it."

Mr Hamilton said there had been complications with the infrastructure of the scheme.

"We're still working through resolving those, but we've got it operational now. We've been doing extensive testing on it so that we have confidence in it - but yes we've had technical issues along the way."

When asked if he was confident that the problems had been fixed, Mr Hamilton said he was feeling positive.

"We still have no guarantees in that, but we've done a pretty robust review of what we've got in the ground and testing what we've got, so getting to this point we have a fairly high level of confidence."

The newest part of the expansion is now delivering water to 25 of the 85 farm off-takes, he said.

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