More money needed for aquifer trial

GISBORNE District Council has had to seek additional funding for the first Makauri managed aquifer recharge (MAR) trial, with extra costs for infrastructure changes and resource consent conditions.

When the trial began it was costed at $670,000, with $200,000 coming from Eastland Community Trust and $240,000 from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ irrigation acceleration fund.

The council was left to cover the extra $230,000 but had only allocated $50,000 plus staff time and resources in the long-term plan for the MAR project.

The council successfully applied to MPI for more funding from its irrigation acceleration fund, bringing its total contribution to $363,500 and reducing the council component to $116,500.

The council’s projects and development officer Mark Joblin said the additional $66,500 would come from the council’s budget for freshwater plan non-regulatory projects.

The MAR trial involves injecting water from the Waipaoa River into the Makauri aquifer through bores on Kaiaponi Farm, to learn if the depleted water resource, essential for irrigating crops on the Poverty Bay Flats, can be recharged.

A large proportion of the additional costs came from moving the trial site from the Waipaoa Water Treatment Plant to Kaiaponi Farms.

Resource consent conditions added further costs for extra filtration requirements for the river water and monitoring requirements to address cultural concerns.

The initial trial, which began in June, injected 8811 cubic metres into the aquifer at 15 litres per second.

Raised water level

It was successful in raising the water level and took just over five hours to spread 23 metres through the aquifer from the injection bore to the monitoring bore.

A report by Golder Associates, scientific advisers for the trial, said there were no unexpected changes in the chemical composition of water samples taken from the injection and monitoring bores.

There was a small increase in the levels of E.coli recorded in water samples taken from the injection and monitoring bores.

However, a larger number of samples were required to draw conclusions as to the rate of die off and transport of E.coli in the aquifer.

The full injection phase of the trial was approved and began on July 20, with the provision that the E.coli test results would continue to be monitored closely.

This phase involves injecting 100,000 cubic metres into the aquifer and is expected to be completed by September 30.

The second half of the trial will likely involve injecting 50,000 cubic metres of chlorinated water.

Intensive monitoring will continue for three months after the injection phase has stopped and a final report on the trial will be ready in early 2018.

In July the council’s Future Tairawhiti committee, consisting of all councillors, approved a stage two trial for 2018.

If the trials prove successful construction of the MAR is scheduled to take place from 2021 to 2025-2027, with the council contributing a third of costs ($1 million) and the rest funded externally.

GISBORNE District Council has had to seek additional funding for the first Makauri managed aquifer recharge (MAR) trial, with extra costs for infrastructure changes and resource consent conditions.

When the trial began it was costed at $670,000, with $200,000 coming from Eastland Community Trust and $240,000 from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ irrigation acceleration fund.

The council was left to cover the extra $230,000 but had only allocated $50,000 plus staff time and resources in the long-term plan for the MAR project.

The council successfully applied to MPI for more funding from its irrigation acceleration fund, bringing its total contribution to $363,500 and reducing the council component to $116,500.

The council’s projects and development officer Mark Joblin said the additional $66,500 would come from the council’s budget for freshwater plan non-regulatory projects.

The MAR trial involves injecting water from the Waipaoa River into the Makauri aquifer through bores on Kaiaponi Farm, to learn if the depleted water resource, essential for irrigating crops on the Poverty Bay Flats, can be recharged.

A large proportion of the additional costs came from moving the trial site from the Waipaoa Water Treatment Plant to Kaiaponi Farms.

Resource consent conditions added further costs for extra filtration requirements for the river water and monitoring requirements to address cultural concerns.

The initial trial, which began in June, injected 8811 cubic metres into the aquifer at 15 litres per second.

Raised water level

It was successful in raising the water level and took just over five hours to spread 23 metres through the aquifer from the injection bore to the monitoring bore.

A report by Golder Associates, scientific advisers for the trial, said there were no unexpected changes in the chemical composition of water samples taken from the injection and monitoring bores.

There was a small increase in the levels of E.coli recorded in water samples taken from the injection and monitoring bores.

However, a larger number of samples were required to draw conclusions as to the rate of die off and transport of E.coli in the aquifer.

The full injection phase of the trial was approved and began on July 20, with the provision that the E.coli test results would continue to be monitored closely.

This phase involves injecting 100,000 cubic metres into the aquifer and is expected to be completed by September 30.

The second half of the trial will likely involve injecting 50,000 cubic metres of chlorinated water.

Intensive monitoring will continue for three months after the injection phase has stopped and a final report on the trial will be ready in early 2018.

In July the council’s Future Tairawhiti committee, consisting of all councillors, approved a stage two trial for 2018.

If the trials prove successful construction of the MAR is scheduled to take place from 2021 to 2025-2027, with the council contributing a third of costs ($1 million) and the rest funded externally.

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Rainmaker - 8 days ago
You may not have noticed this but it's hardly stopped raining for the last five months, ever since the recharge was first mooted I'd say. Reminds me of the time I put a watering system into my garden. As soon as it was connected the heaven's opened and the deluge lasted for the rest of that summer.
Abandon any further expenditure and let nature take its course.

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