The ODT reports that farmers are hopeful a deal can be reached with Meridian Energy to safeguard the 100% reliability of water from the Waitaki River for irrigation.
Several irrigation schemes use Waitaki water, including North Otago Irrigation Company’s which we use to irrigate 400 hectares and which was launched a couple of years ago.
It pumps water from the river to the top of a hill then pipes it from there so it gets to farm gates under pressure which means most farmers don’t have to do additional pumping. It is not cheap, but at the moment, like water from other schemes which use the Waitaki, it’s 100% reliable.
That’s very important because farmers base their operations on the knowledge they can get enough water when they need it and any restirctions would come just when the water was needed most.