More projects aimed at river clean-up

Hamilton Metro News - - NEWS -

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-chair­man 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 hapu and marae.

The author­ity has this year al­lo­cated up to $6m for clean-up projects.

Deputy Crown cochair­woman, and chair­woman 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 co­fund­ing, sourced from within and out­side the re­gion, which will en­sure max­i­mum lever­age of the author­ity’s fund­ing dol­lar,” she says.

The ar­eas the author­ity has sig­nalled 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 $30.4m to 204 projects.

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