The Government’s clear structure for supporting regional water infrastructure development schemes, like the Central Plains Water project, has resulted in CPWL gaining support for the planning stages from the Government’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF), managed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
The IAF provides co-funding to get schemes to the stage where they have a prospectus ready to put before potential investors.
To gain IAF funding, the backers need to show that the project would help achieve objectives set out in a regional strategy for water management. The CPWL project ticks this box for the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.
The proposal also needs to show it would be best practice in all aspects and include community engagement.
An important feature of the CPWL project is that it will make real gains for the environment by reducing abstraction pressure from groundwater, as well as being more energy efficient.
Recently, the Government took steps to set up a company that will act as a bridging investor in these water infrastructure development projects, with an allocation of $80 million for the coming year and an expectation of $400 million in total.
It believes these schemes will offer attractive long-term investment opportunities but recognizes it might need to get involved as a short-term investor to make up for an initial shortfall in private investment under some circumstances.
The focus for schemes should be to ensure they are good and viable and will serve their community well in the long-term.