Extraordinary interest in river clean-up funding
The Waikato River Authority’s seventh funding round has closed with $12.5 million being sought for river clean-up projects.
It is the Authority’s strongest funding round to date.
A total of 65 applications have been received for projects throughout the 11-thousand square kilometre catchment for the Waikato and Waipaa rivers.
Authority co-chair Tukoroirangi Morgan says the value and calibre of funding applications this year is unprecedented.
“We have always been concerned at the capacity of the wider community to take on an increasing load of freshwater clean-up and restoration projects, but it is fairly clear from this year’s applications that there is a ground swell of determination from people who want to see a better outcome for our rivers and lakes,” he says.
Mr Morgan says there is a good number of applications from iwi groups this year, from larger trusts through to local hapuu and marae.
The Authority has this year allocated up to $6 million for clean-up projects.
Deputy Crown Co-Chair, and Chair of the Authority’s Investment Committee, Traci Houpapa, says there is now a formidable task ahead to evaluate and select the successful projects.
“We know this year will see some fantastic new restoration initiatives funded, and it is pleasing to see projects that deliver significant cash co-funding, sourced from within and outside the region, which will ensure maximum leverage of the Authority’s funding dollar,” she says.
Among the areas the Authority has signaled it will be giving increased priority to this year include:
- Partnerships: A greater level of support for applications that involve strong partnerships and that have the ability to deliver significant outcomes from larger projects.
- Iwi Engagement: There will be an increased focus on bigger projects that incorporate iwi in the project delivery.
- Restoration Strategy: Projects that have been flagged as important during the development of the Restoration Strategy will be given funding priority.
- Water Quality: A strong emphasis on projects that can demonstrate a high level of certainty around water quality improvement.
The projects seeking funding will now undergo a technical evaluation process from an advisory panel with the final funding decisions made by the Authority announced by November.
In the past six years of funding, the Waikato River Authority has allocated $30.4 million to 204 projects.