Two demonstration sites have now been given the green light from Council.
There were multiple applications from landowners wanting to be involved in the project and the project applied strict criteria for evaluating potential sites. Among other things, sites had to have existing access to a consistent water supply, and landowners had to be willing and able to host visitors on their land.
Demonstration site 1 is on iwi land at Maunganui Bluff north of Dargaville. Council is working with Te Roroa to showcase irrigation that can be easily scaled up or down, depending on what crops are being watered. The site includes an in-ground irrigation system managed remotely via a web application to deliver water and fertiliser to vegetable crops in precise amounts. First crops on this site include watermelon, squash and sweetcorn. Water supply is from a farm creek, captured in a tank and gravity fed to the demonstration site.
Demonstration site 2 is in Te Kopuru. A centre pivot irrigator is being installed which has a 242-metre span and will irrigate roughly 10 hectares. First crops include sorghum, maize, and sweetcorn. Water will be gradually taken from a nearby creek under an existing resource consent and stored in a pond that will be built as part of the project.
The Te Kopuru site (site 2) is also located within the future water storage scheme area managed by Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust. The teams from both projects are working closely on the interlinked projects, sharing guidance on water infrastructure solutions and what they learn from their involvement.
As well as regular community events and guided site visits, a time-lapse web camera will be set up to capture crop growth and site development.
The project team is working closely with Kauri Coast Contracting, Think Water Northland, Bay Irrigation, as well as the Kaipara Kai Hub. The Kaipara Kai Hub will be contracted to manage the demonstration sites once they are established.
Read the full media release on our news website.