Hunter Downs Irrigation Hunter Downs Irrigation Hunter Downs Irrigation Hunter Downs Irrigation

Hunter Downs Irrigation

To obtain resource consent to take water from the Waitaki (20m3/s) and use the water for irrigation over 60,000ha in South Canterbury.

Hunter Downs Irrigation (HDI) is a proposed sustainable, community irrigation scheme over 60,000ha in South Canterbury. The scheme would use water from the Waitaki River to enhance the economic and social well-being of the district’s community. Stage 1 resource consents are for the water take from the Waitaki (20m3/s) and the water use for irrigation over a large and varied area covering numerous small catchments.

Boffa Miskell managed the process of assessing the range of environmental, cultural and social effects associated with the substantial water take and its use for irrigation; reviewed all assessment reports; and prepared the environmental assessment report for the project’s consenting process. This involved coordination of engineers, irrigators and physical, biological and social scientists to devise a sustainable approach to the irrigation use and scheme design. Boffa Miskell also presented planning and environmental assessment evidence to the Regional Council hearing.

Boffa Miskell developed innovative planning approaches for mitigation of the potential effects of irrigation on local catchment soil and water quality, biodiversity and stream/wetland ecology, using management plans. HDI leads New Zealand in the use of comprehensive scheme and farm management plans for managing potential effects of irrigation on-farm and in the wider environment – these have become a benchmark for subsequent scheme proposals.

The scheme and farm management plans are fundamental to ensuring sustainable irrigation water use. Implementation and compliance with the plans will be a pre-requisite for scheme users. Boffa Miskell pioneered the development of innovative consent conditions to ensure implementation of the plans whilst enabling flexibility in responding to individual farm management requirements.

Our role


The facts

ClientMeridian Energy Ltd and South Canterbury Irrigation Trust
Project teamStephanie Styles
Project date2005