Chief executive Derek Crombie said he was encouraged by the large turnout, particularly at Darfield.
“At the start of the evening we only put out about 100 chairs and we had to keep adding until the Darfield Community Hall was full,” he said.
The first workshop was a briefing to farm advisers, accountants and bankers with shareholder meetings in Dunsandel, Greendale and Darfield.
“The aim of the workshops was to update our shareholders and their advisers on the status of the project to assist them with their decisions to take up surface water irrigation with CPWL.
“With the employment of key Solid Energy staff, the project planning has moved quickly over the last six months and we are getting to the point where we need farmer commitment to the scheme and the amount of water that they will require,” he said.
Topics covered in the workshops included an overview of the entire scheme, overview of Stage 1, nutrient management and limits, the economics of irrigation, the capital cost of the project and the cost to farmers plus the Water User Agreement.
“A key requisite of obtaining farmer-shareholder support is to provide the detail around the construction timing, scheme operating criteria and the costs associated with the irrigation and nutrient management requirements.
“The shareholders hold the rights to use the water and now is the time for them to confirm that they are prepared to fund the construction phase,” Crombie said.
CPWL will organise a series of local cluster group meetings in early to mid-July so farmers can learn more specific information as it relates to their farms.