Water supply work rewarded
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.