Switching irrigation water sources to provide a more environmentally sustainable solution for Canterbury’s agriculture
It was identified that changes in Canterbury’s rural infrastructure, particularly extensive irrigation development, had positive effects on New Zealand’s economy. In response, the two-stage Central Plains Water Enhancement Scheme was developed to improve environmental and economic outcomes across a 60,000-hectare command area.
This design and build irrigation project converts the water source from groundwater pumping to a gravity fed pipeline distribution network using more environmentally sustainable alpine water. Stage 1 included a due diligence review, distribution network design for 25,000 hectares, and critical review of Stage 2’s economic feasibility. We proposed a radically alternative Stage 2 scheme that reduced the environmental footprint and project risk and significantly reduced capital expenditure at a fixed cost. As lead designer, we undertook detailed design, construction management, surveillance, and quality assurance.
Our team managed the key risks and developed a feasible solution to irrigate a further 20,000 hectares of farmland. This project helps enhance ecological and recreational values while providing opportunity for agricultural and horticultural diversity via water security.
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