12 Mar 2014

Irrigation scheme finally getting under way

1:49 pm on 12 March 2014

Construction is finally about to start on Canterbury's newest irrigation scheme.

Contractors are moving onto a site near the township of Hororata this week to begin work on the $375 million Central Plains scheme which will take water from the Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers to irrigate up to 60,000 hectares out of 105,000 hectares of farmland between the two.

It's taken years of planning and redesign to get resource consents and reach this point.

The chief executive of Central Plains Water, Derek Crombie, says the $140 million first stage will irrigate about 20,000 hectares. He says the aim is to have the first water flowing through the scheme by September next year and the second and third stages will follow.

Mr Crombie says two contracts have been awarded: the one for the main construction to a Fulton Hogan/John Holland joint venture and one for all the pipework to Downer.

Mr Crombie says up to 250 people will be employed on the scheme.