Our Scheme

Innovation, strength, organisational efficiencies, and a commitment to ensuring environmentally and economically sustainable water is available for future generations. These are the cornerstones on which MHV Water Ltd (MHV) was shaped.

Since inception of the scheme in 1947, by investing in science and technology, we are continuing the innovation and foresight of our predecessors. 

We deliver irrigation water and oversee environmental compliance across more than 58,000 hectares of farmland nestled between the Ashburton and Rangitata rivers in Mid-Canterbury.

The water we deliver fuels the growth of diverse crops, from grass, to grains, and specialty seeds, among others. Operated as a farmer cooperative, shareholders jointly own the infrastructure essential for water delivery. Tasked with the meticulous management of this vital network, MHV Water staff diligently ensure the seamless distribution of water resources throughout the district.

Rangitata Diversion Race Management (RDRML), a company of which we are a Shareholder, holds the consent and manages the water takes for both the Rangitata and Ashburton Rivers. A Water Conservation Order determines the volume of water that can be extracted from the Rangitata and Ashburton Rivers which feeds the RDR and the minimum flow conditions which initiate restrictions. Water from the RDR is delivered to MHV shareholders via around 320km of open race and approximately 100km of piped infrastructure. 

The wider MHV landscape is peppered with storage ponds, these are filled during times of low irrigation water demand and, provide farmers and growers with increased reliability of water, should restrictions be imposed.

The irrigation season is from the 10th of September until the 9th of May each year. During winter and in summer when not all the irrigation take is being utilised on farm, the water is used for hydrogeneration.

Learn more about Irrigation Protocols and Guidelines

Learn more about Share Registry and Company Documents

Environmental Management 

We manage the farming activity resource consent under our Land Use and Nutrient Discharge Consent (held by Rangitata Diversion Race Management Ltd) for our MHV Shareholders. That is, the right to farm, use of water for irrigation and to discharge to the land. 

Shareholders are required to adhere to the resource consent conditions, including annual Farm Environmental Plans (FEP's), Nutrient Budgets, following Good Management Practice (GMP) guidelines, and having regular Audits of their farming operation(s). Collective environmental management is important and not new to our farmers and they decided that we would achieve the best outcomes if we worked together and our Farm Environmental Planning has been evolving for almost ten years. 

As an environmentally responsible organisation, we are continually looking at how we can improve our infrastructure and invest in science and technology to support our shareholders to meet and exceed Good Management Practices. We are also involved in Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) projects which have proven positive results to date in increasing groundwater levels and decreasing nitrate levels, and we are proud to support this initiative in our scheme area. We also have an extensive water monitoring programme. 

We work closely with mana whenua and are continually looking at how we can incorporate mātauranga Māori in our practices and farmers.

At MHV Water we take our responsibility to achieve water quality outcomes very seriously and are proud of the progress that has been made by our farming community to achieve the desired results. Our farmers are leading the way with innovative and sustainable farming systems that are making a difference and we use our platform to share their journeys and these best practices.

Plan Change 2 

This area and the greater Ashburton-Rakaia plains are subject to the Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP) nutrient management rules. We are guided by Plan Change 2 of the LWRP which specifically relates to the Hinds Plains area and provides us with clear direction and facilitates the sustainable management of our land and water resources now and into the future. One of the main requirements of Plan Change 2 is a reduction in Nitrate of 35% by 2035. It is a robust framework and we have made, and are continuing to make, improvements on the farm. Plan Change 2 was made operative in June 2018. 

Learn more about Plan Change 2

Learn more about FEPs

Learn more about GMP


MHV Water Ltd
326 Burnett St
Ashburton 7700

Email: info@mhvwater.nz
Phone: +64 3 307 8389