Wa­ter sup­ply work re­warded

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

STAFF RE­PORTER

A Cen­tral Otago man’s ‘‘out­stand­ing’’ lead­er­ship in ir­ri­ga­tion and work to es­tab­lish a safe com­mu­nity drink­ing wa­ter sup­ply has been recog­nised.

Ir­ri­ga­tionNZ chair­woman Nicky Hys­lop said Gavin Dann was one of two re­cip­i­ents of the 2018 Ron Cocks Award from Ir­ri­ga­tionNZ which ac­knowl­edged the lead­er­ship he had pro­vided to the Last Chance Ir­ri­ga­tion Com­pany and his work to es­tab­lish a safe com­mu­nity drink­ing wa­ter sup­ply.

‘‘Gavin has con­trib­uted his time to sup­port­ing a lo­cal ir­ri­ga­tion scheme for over 40 years. He has demon­strated a high de­gree of in­no­va­tion, per­se­ver­ance and in­tel­li­gence in re­solv­ing com­plex is­sues, and the com­pany and lo­cal com­mu­nity has ben­e­fited from his strong in­ter­per­sonal skills as he seeks to find so­lu­tions which meet ev­ery­one’s needs.’’

The Last Chance Ir­ri­ga­tion Com­pany used snow melt from the Old Man Range for ir­ri­ga­tion. Wa­ter was de­liv­ered to farms north of the range through a wa­ter race net­work orig­i­nally built in gold mining days and through nat­u­ral creeks. Two con­crete arch dams were built dur­ing the de­pres­sion which were used to store wa­ter – Con­roys Dam and Butch­ers Dam.

The wa­ter race and creek ir­ri­ga­tion net­work was man­aged by the govern­ment as five sep­a­rate net­works col­lec­tively named as Last Chance af­ter a nine­teenth cen­tury gold­min­ing ven­ture at Fruit­lands which created the wa­ter race net­work used by ir­ri­ga­tors un­til the 1980s when it was sold back to farm­ers and the Last Chance Ir­ri­ga­tion Com­pany was formed. The com­pany brought five sec­tions into one com­pany, with around 100 share­hold­ers.

‘‘Gavin has been the driv­ing force be­hind a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to im­prove the Last Chance Ir­ri­ga­tion Com­pany’s op­er­a­tions,’’ Hys­lop said.

An idea he came up with and pur­sued with a fel­low ir­ri­ga­tor was to re­take runoff flood ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter from Butch­ers Dam ir­ri­ga­tors and pipe it through a hill and across a val­ley to the lower Con­roys catch­ment to sup­ple­ment their sup­ply. He suc­cess­fully ne­go­ti­ated to have the Crown fund this ‘Link Race’ pipe as part of the Last Chance Com­pany set­tle­ment.

Al­li­son Sut­ton, Gavin Dann and wife Cathy.

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