The Hurunui District and its communities are highly dependent on agriculture for their long-term sustainability. Historically, this North Canterbury district is subject to frequent and extended droughts that impact harshly on its agricultural productivity, threatening the stability and sustainability of its communities.
In 2002, a small group of farmers got together to think about how to future-proof and protect their farming communities against future droughts. The Hurunui Water Project was conceived by these farmers and several other interested parties, who shared a vision to see the Hurunui District become a productive and sustainable landscape.
The Hurunui Irrigation and Power Trust (HIPT) was formed to begin investigations into water storage in the Hurunui District.
The Hurunui Water Project (HWP) is a farmer-shareholder based irrigation company centred around the Hurunui District town-ships of Hawarden and Waikari. It has the support of landowners across 42,000ha, most of whom have no current access to water for irrigation.
North Canterbury residents see the project as a way to improve welfare for the entire community.