Sunday, March 8, 2009

Canal collapse cuts irrigation supply

A centre pivot sits idle after part of the Benmore irrigation scheme canal (centre background) slipped a week ago, cutting off water to six farms.
Six farmers with 28 centre pivots are without water from the Benmore Irrigation Company's scheme as the driest part of the year approaches. Last Friday, a portion of the scheme's main canal collapsed just east of Lake Ruataniwha. The slip is clearly visible from State Highway 8 on the side of the hill.
Company chairman did not know how much had collapsed. However, it was hoped the problem would be rectified by this weekend, restoring the irrigation. A contractor had been employed to restore the flow. The repairs would also need signing off by an engineer.
The scheme started delivering water about four years ago and was recently extended through the Benmore Saddle to the Ahuriri River.
The break has come at one of the worst times of the year, but this shouldn't be causing any major problems for farmers. The scheme has only been going for a short time and this is the first major problem we have had.
It is part of the ongoing process of a new scheme going through the settling-in process.

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