The release of ‘Our fresh water 2017’ is a call to action for all New Zealanders, says IrrigationNZ CEO, Andrew Curtis. The report measures fresh water quality, quantity and flows, biodiversity and cultural health.
“This report highlights the impact we all have on fresh water resources. I have no doubt it will provoke further finger-pointing at the rural sector, but the reality is, all human activities are placing pressure on our fresh water environments and we must all do our bit to limit and reverse those impacts. ‘Our fresh water 2017’ is a call to action for communities to work together to implement sustainable solutions.”
Mr Curtis said that whilst the report contained some good data on the impacts of certain activities in specific catchments, it was constrained by a lack of consistent data and knowledge gaps – particularly around irrigation. While the report shows 51% of the water allocated by councils is for irrigation, it was not able to determine how much of the allocated water was actually used because data quality and the completeness of records on actual takes is inconsistent.
“We know that in many cases, actual water use is less than consented use. Despite the fact that irrigators have been collecting water measurement data for a number of years, none of it was captured in this report because there is currently no standard measurement, reporting tools or consensus amongst regional councils that allow us to report actual water use data over time.
Many of the report’s findings were based on ‘limited data’, which makes it difficult to track where our environmental efforts are working and having a positive impact. Without good data, backed up by science, we will continue to struggle to implement solutions.”
Curtis says that since 2011, irrigation schemes and irrigating farmers have collectively invested more than $1.8 billion in environmental improvement. This includes infrastructure upgrades, water use efficiency measures, technology, nutrient management and monitoring.
“Farmers and growers share the same environmental values as most New Zealanders – they want to protect fresh water resources to sustain their businesses, families and communities. Yet it seems, certainly from this report, that little of the data they are measuring and supplying is being used to inform policy, practice or environmental outcomes. We know that where farmers and growers are focussing their efforts, they are making a difference. This report does reflect this to a degree, but it is very constrained due to incomplete or inconsistent data.”
The solution, says Curtis, is stronger leadership from Government and councils so that the knowledge already being gathered can be used to determine the true impacts of activities and then shape solutions at a national, regional, catchment and community level.
“The value of this report is that it gives us a ‘starting point’ to work from. Once we have a more complete data set and improved reporting, I have no doubt that the next report will show a truer picture of the impact our activities have on waterways and the solutions needed to effectively manage and improve those impacts.”
Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ CEO – 0274 966 314
Today’s announcement of an additional $90 million funding for irrigation is great news for New Zealand communities, says IrrigationNZ CEO, Andrew Curtis. “Sustainable irrigated agriculture is New Zealand’s future. It underpins many of the provincial economies on the east coast….. Read more
The release of ‘Our fresh water 2017’ is a call to action for all New Zealanders, says IrrigationNZ CEO, Andrew Curtis. The report measures fresh water quality, quantity and flows, biodiversity and cultural health. “This report highlights the impact we….. Read more
IrrigationNZ has spent the summer gathering data on farms around Canterbury to get a better, more accurate understanding of irrigation efficiency. The results, say INZ Project Manager, Steve Breneger, will provide a benchmark for progress. “We’ve been on-farm for the….. Read more
If there’s one thing every election has in common it’s tax. Usually one party promising to lower them; the others threatening to raise them. This year however, tax is being talked about in the context of water. I’ve spent time….. Read more
Have a read at the e-newsletter that we’ve just sent out: click here.
June 20 @ 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Potential and new directors and managers who interact with boards and wish to increase their understanding of the governance environment. A refresh course for existing directors and managers.
August 8 @ 8:30 am - August 9 @ 5:00 pm
Irrigation fundamentals is a 2 day course targeting new entrants to the industry and frontline staff of businesses and organisations that provide services to the irrigation industry. The aim of the 2 days is to give people a comprehensive overview of the….. Read more
Central Otago dam seen as 'only chance' for harmony over fight for water t.co/QnBLgs1IHd
Doug Edmeades: Look back to see the progress we've made t.co/CzcH66PVsA