Ex post analysis of irrigation development for future SIAs

Nick Taylor; Mike Mackay

Abstract – Tuhinga Whakarāpopoto

Irrigation development is an important way that rural communities can drive economic regeneration. However, it also creates a complex set of positive and negative social impacts. Their assessment and management has implications for net social wellbeing over time. The social licence for large-scale irrigation development requires commitment to strategic and project-level Social Impact Assessment. The effective practice of Social Impact Assessments for irrigation, water planning and management is clearly assisted by the availability of comparative analysis after the end of the project. This research involved ex post analyses of initiatives for regional social and economic regeneration in the Canterbury region’s Waitaki catchment and Amuri basin of Aotearoa New Zealand. The research confirms that regeneration typically is a complex, incremental process involving multiple stakeholders over a lengthy period.

Articles associated with this research – Karere Tūhono

News: The social impacts of irrigation

29 July 2021: A Building Better research team has recently looked at the social impacts of irrigation developments in the Waitaki Valley (North Otago) and Amuri (North Canterbury) as part of evaluating the success of regional regeneration initiatives, along with developing methods and capability in assessing social impacts. The work is important to see how the actual impacts line up with the predicted Social Impact Assessment of such work: What worked well, and for whom? What patterns of change were not anticipated and how were these addressed? What can be learnt from these experiences? >> Read More.

Keywords – Kupu Hāngai

Social impact; irrigation; community engagement; community; impact assessment; social wellbeing; Waitaki Valley; North Otago; Amuri; South Island; Te Waipounamu

Fields of Research – Āpure Rangahau

Social impact assessment; Water planning and management; Regional development; Rural community development; Community planning; Community engagement


Date – Te Wā Whakarewa



Type – Te Auaha

Paper presented at 2021 International Association for Impact Assessment virtual conference

Citation – Kupu Hautoa

Taylor, N. & Mackay, M. (2021). Ex post analysis of irrigation development for future SIAs. International Association for Impact Assessment Annual Conference.