14 March 2017
Central Otago District Council (CODC) has been successful in its bid to host the 2018 Irrigation New Zealand Conference in Central Otago.
The three-day conference will be held in Alexandra in April 2018 and is expected to attract up to 450 delegates from around New Zealand.
This is the first time that this conference has been held in Central Otago and it will involve workshops, exhibitions, industry presentations and field trips throughout the district.
Mayor Tim Cadogan wrote one of the many letters of support for the bid prepared by Council's Tourism Central Otago and Economic Development staff. He said hosting the important conference would bring many benefits to the district.
"Water issues are absolutely critical to our district and paramount in our Council's strategic thinking. Major issues before us include the change from mining privileges to resource consents for irrigation by 2021, the setting of minimum flows on many of our waterways, proposals for a new dam on the Manuherikia River and the establishment of water management groups under the new regional plan. Local irrigators, advisers and regulators have much to share with, and learn from, other delegates.
"Hosting the biennial Irrigation New Zealand conference here in Central Otago is also timely with the recent announcement of the government-funded Centre of Space Science Technology to be based in Alexandra. One of its key goals is to accurately monitor soil moisture using satellites, to support optimum irrigation decision-making."
Hosting the conference for such a large group would have obvious promotional benefits for the district too.
"This is a superb opportunity for conference delegates to experience our wonderful southern hospitality, spectacular scenery and world class attractions, and see the opportunities and benefits irrigation provides our region," said Mr Cadogan.
Irrigation NZ Chief Executive Andrew Curtis said the organisation was very excited to be hosting the event in partnership with CODC.
"Central Otago is the 'home' of irrigation in New Zealand. The diversity of irrigated agriculture in the region is something the rest of the country should aspire to. Central Otago is a natural fit for our messages around innovation, sustainability and the contribution irrigation makes to rural and regional communities."