The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $18.5 million in water storage to unlock land use potential in the Mid North, Regional Economic Development.
“Up to $18.5 million will be invested to help investigate and, if feasible, construct community-scale water storage and use options in Kaipara and Mid North,” Shane Jones said.
“This project is the largest PGF investment to date in water storage. Regional Economic Development Ministers backed the proposal because of the real opportunities that ensuring a more reliable water supply could bring to the region – up to $150m in increased horticulture earnings per year and up to 1150 jobs created.
“The region is vulnerable to droughts and floods, so better access to water will give landowners greater options to utilise their land, develop new markets and maintain and grow a skilled workforce.
“This project is relatively small in scale, compared to proposed water projects in the past, and enjoys wide support from local government. It will alleviate pressure on surface and groundwater resources, and will reduce sedimentation, a key water quality issue for the region, as land use shifts towards horticulture.
“It will also mean better access to water for use on Māori-owned land – the development of which is a key objective for the PGF.” . .
New Zealand has plenty of water, the problem is it doesn’t fall and flow evenly or conveniently where and when it’s needed.
Those of a very dark green persuasion say that’s nature’s way and we have to accept it.
Those with more moderate views say that water storage is the most environmentally friendly way to harness nature’s bounty – storing water when there’s more than enough, to use when there’s too little.
The economic and social benefits of this are clear – a reliable water supply provides insurance against the financial and human costs of droughts. There are also environmental benefits – the ability to maintain minimum flows in waterways which improves their health and that of the flora and fauna that live in them.
This is why the previous government provided funding for water storage. This government stopped that but is using the PGF to do it instead.
While supporting water storage, I have reservations about this funding.
Successful irrigation projects are driven from the water-users up, not the government down.
I also have a question – if water storage is good in Northland, why isn’t it good in other parts of the country which would have received government help under the previous government but won’t under this one?