Business North July / August 2021

74 | Scheme to harness valuable water Sue Russell The newly constructed access road to the Matawii reservoir site near Kaikohe, with horticultural development occurring as part of the Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park. Once complete, the full schemes in two areas could provide for the development of up to 7000ha of new horticultural land. to page 76 INFRASTRUCTURE Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust A ccess to water is a topic of growing concern for those in Te Tai Tokerau. The region has experienced official drought conditions six times since 2009 and in the summer of 2020 water supplies to several large urban communities almost ran dry. The impacts of climate change are only expected to exacerbate the problem. The lack of access to a reliable source of wa- ter has meant rural land use opportunities in the region, and the economic benefits that can be generated as a result, have been limited. The irony is the region actually experiences higher than average annual rainfall. The aim is to create the infrastructure need- ed to promote sustainable land use change to high-value uses such as horticulture. This will in turn lift the prosperity of local communities, as well as offering an alternative source of water for municipal supplies. Once complete, the full schemes in both areas could provide for the development of up to 7000 hectares of new horticultural land. Other members of the Trust include former Te Tai Tokerau MP the Hon Dover Samuels, ac- countant and director at Horticulture NZ Kath- ryn de Bruin, and civil contractor and promi- nent Northland businessman Ken Rintoul. However, a lack of storage means much of the valuable water that does fall simply drains off to the sea. A series of studies completed by the Northland Regional Council looking at water storage options aimed at addressing water use - and the potential economic benefits they could bring to the region – have progressed in stages since 2014. The result of that work led to the establish- ment of Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust in June 2020. Chaired by former government minister the Hon Murray McCully, the Trust’s objective is to create water storage and distribution schemes in two areas previously identified by those earlier studies as being the most suitable for development. These are near Kaikohe in the Mid North and on the Northern Pouto Penin- sula, south of Dargaville, in the Kaipara. FAR NORTH AGENT CALL 021 780 105 EMAIL ”The opportunities are beginning to be realised by existing landowners as to what bringing water to their properties can mean.”