Irrigation funding must go in order to protect water quality

The Green Party is calling on the Government to rule out any funding or investment in the controversial Ruataniwha Dam.

It’s been reported that ACC is considering investing in the Ruataniwha Dam and that Crown Irrigation Investments may yet help fund the $900 million scheme, despite widespread concern about the impact it would have on Hawke’s Bay rivers.

“It’s time for the Government to put the environment ahead of the interests of a few people who stand to make money out of this disastrous dam,” says Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The case for large-scale irrigation, such as the Ruataniwha Dam doesn’t stack up economically or environmentally.

“The Government, through Crown Irrigation Investments and the Irrigation Acceleration Fund, is subsidising environmental degradation.

“ACC is believed to be investing in the Ruataniwha Dam, which means taxpayers are funding the poor water quality of our rivers.  

The comments follow the Ministry for Primary Industries stating that it is investigating potential irrigation for another 400,000 ha over 15 years, while at the same time claiming to increase sustainable resource use.

“Large scale irrigation dams and schemes like Ruataniwha don’t encourage sustainable land or water use. They drastically change the natural flows of rivers, and promote more high-input agricultural intensification, a leading cause of declining water quality.

“The Ministry’s stated claim that increasing sustainable resource use is its desired long-term outcome is at odds with it subsidising environmentally destructive irrigation schemes, such as the Ruataniwha Dam.

“The Government’s money would be better spent cleaning up our rivers, not contributing to their decline by funding projects like the Ruataniwha Dam,” Ms Sage said.

 

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