Irrigation extension deferred

By Annette Lambly


The Lincoln Downs irrigation scheme for the Mangawhai Community Wastewater Scheme will not be extended at this stage following a council review.

Last month, the Kaipara District Council delegated commissioners John Robertson and Richard Booth to examine whether a six-hectare extension to the irrigation system was needed.

About 30ha of the council-owned Lincoln Downs Farm on Browns Rd is used to dispose of the reclaimed water via irrigation.

At a recent meeting, the council's general manager of operations, John Burt, reported that the storage dam was already approaching capacity and expressed concern a repeat of last year's wet summer could result in a breach of the scheme's consent conditions.

Certain criteria have to be met for run-off irrigation (overspill) to be allowed (on average once every 10 years).

This occurred last summer and irrigation continued through the winter in spite of the pasture covers not needing it.

The system was installed in 2009 and, at the time, it was envisaged 65 hectares would eventually be required, with 25ha and 15ha extensions being staged in.

The council is already looking into trialling different vegetation cover and improving land management practices to increase the quantity of water applied per hectare.

But it is still of the belief an extension to the system will still be needed at some stage.

It has put aside $445,000 for this purpose in its long-term plan.

The commissioners said the extension could be deferred until more information was obtained and a report on the scheme by the office of the auditor-general was completed.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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