[19 July / Rural life]

A share offer for the last 14% of the North Otago Irrigation Company now represent the last chance for farmers in the area to secure water rights. Chief executive Andrew Rodwell says that the sale of the last remaining shares would raise equity, reduce debt and fully utilise the scheme which would save shareholders money as monthly charges would be able to be decreased. The scheme which opened in 2006 delivers water to thousands of hectares across the district and local dairy farmer Matt Ross knows what this opportunity means to the region. Mr Ross says that the company is at the end of its infrastructure capability and consented allocation so it is now up to farmers on how it is used. Rodwell says that in the next 50 years the effects of climate change will hit the region hard and having a secure water source will be vital to its success. NOIC’s water take consent is 8.22 cumecs.