8 Apr 2013

Wairarapa water storage sites to be identified

6:33 am on 8 April 2013

Wairarapa farmers are awaiting an announcement of potential water storage sites for a large scale irrigation scheme in the region.

Wellington Regional Council will announce a short-list of storage sites on Monday morning.

The Wairarapa Water Use Project aims to irrigate 30,000 to 50,000 additional hectares of farm land in the Wairarapa Valley.

Federated Farmers Wairarapa president Jamie Falloon said that with the losses the drought is causing, farmers can't wait for the irrigation scheme to be up and running.

He sid it can take some time to get consents through the resource management process, particularly if they are contentious.

But Mr Falloon said the irrigation trust is working hard with all stakeholders including land owners and people with environmental concerns, to iron out any problems so the consent process flows smoothly.

He said Wairarapa is well placed to cope with the intensification of agriculture and the expansion in dairy farming, that the irrigation scheme will fuel.

Mr Falloon said the water quality in Wairarapa's main Ruamahanga River is good compared to other areas in the country.

Although there will be some intensification, he said one of the benefits of the irrigation scheme is that it will enhance the flows of the rivers and the streams so will help during the summer.