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IRRIGATION

Water has been described as the white gold of Central Otago.  

In many ways water is Central Otago's the most valuable resource, affecting current and future prosperity in the district and the ongoing quality of life of its residents.  A report by BERL Economics commissioned by the Central Otago Council in 2009 found that commercial water uses contributed at least 16.6 per cent of the district GDP and over 15 percent of employment in 2007.  For more information on the value of water to the Central Otago economy and a copy of the BERL report please click HERE.  

Most water used for irrigation purposes in Central Otago is currently authorised by historical mining privileges, redefined by the Resource Management Act in 1991 as deemed permits which expire in 2021.  Irrigators that wish continue to take water will need to apply for resource consents.  For more information on water use in Central Otago beyond 2021 please click HERE

The Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group (MCWSG) is working to modernise and upgrade water management in the Manuherikia and Ida valleys.  The Manuherikia catchment is made up of these two principal valleys and a number of dividing hills and has a total area of approximately 3,000 square kilometers of which 60,000 hectares are suitable for irrigation.  Of this area currently 15,000 hectares are fully irrigated and 10,000 hectares are partially irrigated.  While not water short on an annual basis the Manuherikia catchment can often be water-short at critical times of the growing cycle.  Further development will require significant new water storage and distribution infrastructure.  For more information on the MCWSG project please click HERE 

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