The Flaxbourne Community Irrigation Scheme has been under development since 2008. Originally governed by a voluntary group of directors for the benefit of the Flaxbourne community, the scheme has progressed to the point where Marlborough District Council has approved capital funding and final planning and design, and resource consent applications are now being prepared.
The scheme proposal will source water from the Waima (Ure) River, transfer it to the Flaxbourne area and distribute it to participating landowners. Over a decade of planning and hard work has gone into the scheme, at significant cost and some risk to those who signed up at the beginning.
The governance team, comprising Flaxbourne landowners and several councillors, is now confident the scheme is very likely to go ahead, and water will be able to be supplied to those who sign up. Pump tests and conceptual network design have been completed and soon a resource consent application will be lodged for water take from the river. Once consent is granted, the project will move to a final design stage and the building of the scheme.
Since the completion of initial feasibility, concept design and cost estimation, significant additional work has been carried out to refine the design to achieve cost efficiencies, bringing the proposed scheme budget to within the range of $15 million, including contingency. So far $890,000 has been spent. The scheme will be funded via a Council targeted rate to subscribers to the scheme only, per hectare committed.
The number of subscribers to the scheme is limited to the scheme's capacity. The scheme has a firm commitment in excess of 75% take up of the land area it can service, which is 1,300 hectares. At this stage (August 2018) any new taker will share in the current liability associated with the investigation costs incurred to date, and if the scheme becomes over-subscribed then those that join last may unfortunately have to be excluded.