River Authority announces a further $4.7m in funding

The Waikato River Authority has announced its funding decisions for major projects as part of the inaugural funding round for the restoration of the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River.

A total of 22 major projects are to be funded with a combined total of $4,700,000. The funding for larger projects follows an allocation earlier in the year of $800,000 to 24 projects in the under $50,000 category.

A total of $5.5 million has been allocated in the first round of funding from an available pool of $6 million. Unallocated funds from the first year will be available for distribution as part of the next funding round that will open later in the year. 

The Authority is a co-governance body established between the Crown and Waikato River Iwi to restore the Waikato River. The government has committed $210 million over the next 30 years to ensure the Authority has the resources it needs to restore and protect the Waikato River.

Authority co chairs Mr Tukoroirangi Morgan and Hon John Luxton say the funding decisions were particularly rigorous and there is an opportunity for unsuccessful applicants to reapply.

“There are some parts of the funding process that can be improved for the next round, with the Authority likely to review its funding objectives with tighter criteria around what will be funded. The fact that we received $56 million in applications in the first round suggests there may be a benefit from a more well defined focus for our funding criteria,” says Mr Luxton.

The largest undertaking to be funded as part of the first funding round is a project to be run by DairyNZ to reduce nutrient loads and sedimentation in the upper Karapiro catchment of the Waikato River. The project will be implemented over three years and will have additional funding coming from DairyNZ. The Waikato River Authority will fund $685,000.

“The Authority is extremely pleased with the calibre of the larger projects it is funding. The DairyNZ project in particular is an opportunity to partner with an industry that does have an impact on the environment, but through collaboration with land owners and the industry itself there is a real opportunity to reduce the level of that impact for the ultimate benefit of the Waikato River,” says Tukoroirangi Morgan.

The upper Karapiro project will see the introduction of farm based environmental management plans that can be audited to measure a reduction in the environmental footprint of these farms through a change in farming management.

Other significant projects to be funded include the promotion of Lake Serpentine (Rotopiko) by the National Wetland Trust of New Zealand as a showcase site for visitors, education, training and research. This project is to receive $600,000.

The Waikato River Trails ($144,000) and the Waikato River Care ($400,000) have also been successful in their applications for funds for major riparian restoration work.

A full list of project funding is available on the Waikato River Authority’s website at www.waikatoriver.org.nz

For more information contact:
Bob Penter
Chief Executive
Waikato River Authority
Ph: 021 245 6359