"wairarapa water use project" "Wairarapa water"
Wairarapa Water Use Project
The Wairarapa Water Use Project aims to maximise the productive capacity of the Wairarapa valley through water storage and irrigation opportunities and also to meet a range of other community needs which might include recreation and reliable potable water supply. The project has been allocated $750,000 for investigations in GW’s 2011/12 Annual Plan.
The idea is to harvest some of some of the water that pours off the Tararua Range primarily during winter, store it in off-river ponds or lakes, and then release via a water distribution network for a variety of community and agricultural uses during the dry season.
Not only would it increase the reliability of water, but also the range of agricultural produce that could be grown.
Currently, about 10,000 hectares of the valley are irrigated with the water coming from the valley’s aquifers or from rivers and streams, however the potential exists to irrigate an additional 30-50,000 hectares of land across the Wairarapa Valley floor.
The water use project is overseen by a leadership group representing the three Wairarapa district councils, iwi groups RangitÄne o Wairarapa and NgÄti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Greater Wellington Regional Council, the Wairarapa Regional Irrigation Trust, environment and recreation representation and Grow Wellington.
Why is it needed?
Storing water for use in the Wairarapa valley has the ability to transform Wairarapa’s future and has been explored and considered in recent years.
Momentum for this concept has picked up over the past six months with community briefings the first priority agreed by a high-level governance group to oversee development of a regionally integrated water and irrigation project.
Great potential exists to irrigate parts of the Wairarapa valley including land that currently does not have access to water for that purpose. This raises exciting possibilities for exploring future land uses that would contribute to economic growth and social enhancement in Wairarapa.
More jobs, better returns for farming through increased reliability and increased output from our region are just some of the flow-on benefits from such a project. These have been recently quantified in an independent study outlined in this update. They are significant for the Wairarapa and the greater Wellington region.
Water harvesting should benefit irrigators, the environment and the local community by not only storing water during wet periods but potentially supplementing minimum flows at critical times.
How can I be involved?
Conversations with all parts of the community early on are vital to hear perspectives and ideas about water uses and values in Wairarapa, and to develop a viable and environmentally sustainable project. Wherever possible, efforts will be made to maximise the environmental, recreational and cultural benefits of enhancing Wairarapa’s water resource.
As this project evolves further we will be seeking your ongoing input and involvement. If you are interested in contributing your ideas to the project or receiving a newsletter, please email Bruce Geden, firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the Wairarapa Water Use Project website for more detail.