Why do irrigators need long term water permits/consents?
Irrigation is an intergenerational investment. Irrigation scheme infrastructure and farm water supply systems have life spans of well over 50 years. Irrigation systems are designed to operate for over 20 years. There is considerable capital investment required for irrigation. For example, costs of $3,000–5,000 per hectare for the farm infrastructure, and upwards of $8,000 for the scheme water supply. This investment in irrigation is increasing as the public’s water use efficiency and nutrient management expectations grow. Irrigators therefore need long-term permits/consents to give them security. This allows them to borrow money and make the investment required.