Irrigation New Zealand

« Back to media releases


27th April 2017

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.”

ends

Further comment:

Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ CEO – 0274 966 314


« Back to media releases

 

NEWS

Irrigation Workshops – Marlborough and Tasman

7th December 2017

With challenging dry conditions continuing across the Upper South Island, Marlborough and Tasman irrigators will have the opportunity to find out how to be more efficient in their water use at upcoming workshops hosted by IrrigationNZ. “Understanding how to monitor….. Read more

Advice for irrigators over a long, dry summer

7th December 2017

With much of New Zealand experiencing exceptionally dry conditions, IrrigationNZ has some advice for irrigators on how to make the most efficient use of water over summer. According to NIWA, several areas in the South and North Island came close….. Read more

Irrigation a boost for communities

4th December 2017

IrrigationNZ supports Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones’s announcement that regional economic development funding could support some water irrigation projects. “Water infrastructure plays a vital role in creating resilient rural communities,” says IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Andrew Curtis.  “Several New Zealand….. Read more

IrrigationNZ back to help improve irrigation management

23rd November 2017

IrrigationNZ will be back on farms this summer testing irrigation systems and helping farmers improve the efficiency of their irrigation. Last summer, IrrigationNZ in partnership with Environment Canterbury, developed a new testing programme which saw 131 Ashburton farms have their….. Read more

Petition misrepresents irrigation facts

14th November 2017

IrrigationNZ says that the petition presented by Greenpeace at Parliament today misrepresents how irrigation has been funded and used and ignores the wide range of benefits to New Zealand from irrigation, as well as the efforts being made to address….. Read more

EVENTS

Irrigation Efficiency Summer Programme

November 7, 2017 - February 28, 2018

                                 Is your irrigation equipment operating as it should? What improvements could be made? These are questions that can be technically challenging and costly. To help irrigating farmers navigate to Good Management….. Read more

New Zealand Certificate in Irrigation System Design

January 18, 2018 - January 19, 2018

Acquire the specialist skills required to design technically efficient and environmentally sustainable irrigation systems. This certificate is suitable for people with prior knowledge and experience in irrigation. You will be required to design two different irrigation systems so will need….. Read more

Irrigation Accreditation

Smart Irrigation