Water: North Otago’s Gold
North Otago agricultural consultant Keith Pheasant has recently released a fascinating book charting the development of irrigation in North Otago.
Water: North Otago’s Gold opens with the commissioning of the North Otago Irrigation Company’s downlands scheme in 2006. Keith describes this as “one of the final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that has been the quest to bring water to Oamaru and North Otago over many years.”
The book then takes us back in time and follows the history of water use in the district, starting with construction of the Oamaru borough water race and the use of water in the Maerewhenua goldfields in the late 1800s.
Keith then leads the reader through the development of other water projects from the Waitaki: starting with the district’s rural water schemes followed by the Lower Waitaki irrigation scheme on the Waitaki plains; the (then) Upper Waitaki Community Irrigation Company, in the Kurow and Duntroon area; the Maerewhenua District Water Resource Company; irrigation from groundwater; and finally, full-circle back to the development of NOIC.
This book is a must for anyone interested in water management or the history of North Otago. It illustrates how vital water has been to our community’s wellbeing and indeed how it is woven into the story of the Waitaki.
Copies of Water: North Otago’s Gold can be ordered directly from Keith at email@example.com