March 9, 2020, 12:30 p.m.
The Northland Regional Council backed by the central government are exploring the viability for water storage in the Kaipara and Far North districts. Northland landowners are being urged to get on board water storage projects which could boost the region's access to the precious resource.
The NRC is leading the project in collaboration with the Far North and Kaipara District councils and Northland Inc. Two public information sessions were held in Dargaville and Ōhaeawai where experts discussed opportunities that exist within the horticulture sector.
There is potential for Māori landowners within the areas earmarked for initial trialing of the project. Director of Horticulture NZ and the projects expert horticulture consultant Dr Bruce Campbell says
“When thinking of where the future of food demand is going to be, and what consumers are wanting, there’s a real trend towards plant based food. It will need a more secure and stable water supply to produce that food.
This project is about creating a more stable water supply and if so what other land uses might be possible.
I believe that there’s some big opportunities for Māori in the horticulture industry creating some unique food offerings.”
Two initial studies have identified about 6300ha of land, some of which may be suitable for conversion to high-value horticulture, in Kaipara as part of a water supply scheme, along with 1600ha south of Kaikohe and 1700ha to the west of Lake Omapere.
The Government has promised $31.2 million to progress water storage projects in Northland in a bid to make the region more resilient in the face of extreme weather.
The project will see a series of small-scale reservoirs built in the Mid North and Kaipara districts that would collect and store water.
When needed, it would be delivered through a network of pipes for productive use.
The scheme would also be available to help existing municipal water supplies should district councils decide to invest.