Irrigation New Zealand

« Back to media releases


25th July 2017

Irrigation New Zealand has lodged an appeal against new Environment Canterbury irrigation rules it says are unachievable and which could affect the viability of farming in Canterbury.

It is estimated that irrigation contributes over $5 billion to New Zealand’s economy. Around 65% of the irrigated land in New Zealand is in Canterbury and this equates to around 500,000 hectares.

“The benefits of irrigation don’t just accrue to farmers, they are distributed to the community through the demand for goods and services that more productive farms create. What’s at stake with this plan change is the ability of irrigation to continue to contribute to Canterbury’s economy into the future. Take away irrigation from our region and it would result in job losses and a very big economic gap to fill,” says Irrigation New Zealand Chief Executive Andrew Curtis.

The challenge relates to the interpretation of what good irrigation management practice means regarding the amount and timing of water application under Environment Canterbury’s recently adopted Plan Change 5.

“The Plan Change interprets this to mean that there is no leaching or run-off from each irrigation application. In technical terms we refer to this as 100% application efficiency,” says Mr Curtis.

“We will be appealing the Plan Change as it is inconsistent with the accepted industry interpretation of good management practice which is that there is 80% application efficiency of water used for irrigation.  The 80% efficiency requirement has been adopted by Environment Canterbury in the operative Land and Water Regional Plan so the new changes are not consistent with existing rules and are confusing for farmers,” he adds.

Mr Curtis says that trying to achieve compliance with the new rules could require that farmers must invest in expensive new irrigation equipment which may be unaffortable and even if newer equipment was installed the targets would still be unachievable for many farms.

“There are very few businesses who can say they are 100% efficient, 100% of the time, and farms are no different.  It’s very disheartening for farmers who have invested in more modern irrigation equipment and training with the goal of meeting the 80% efficiency requirements of the recently adopted Land and Water Regional Plan to find they are operating in an environment where regulations are continually changing and unrealistic targets are set that they can’t hope to achieve,” he adds.

Since 2011, $600 million has been spent by existing irrigators nationally to upgrade to modern, more efficient irrigation systems.

The appeal will argue that as well as being inconsistent with the irrigation efficiency rules in the operative Land and Water Regional Plan, the section 32 analysis completed on Plan Change 5 should have assessed the cost of trying to achieve the new 100% efficiency target, but did not.

Irrigation NZ has commissioned a report to quantify what the impact of the new Plan Change rules are likely to be.

“We don’t know how much it will cost to comply with the new rules but the investment in infrastructure required is likely to be significant with some farms being unable to meet these costs. We are hoping that a workable solution will be able to be achieved through the mediation process,” says Mr Curtis.

“We’re fully behind all irrigators moving to good practice – but good practice has to be achievable,” he adds.

For more information or further interview contact Andrew Curtis, CEO Irrigation New Zealand, on 027 496 6314


« Back to media releases

 

NEWS

How farms are working to reduce environmental impacts in Selwyn 

14th February 2018

It’s been a busy time for many Selwyn farms over the past few months. After a record breaking dry spell in late 2017, we received some welcome rain in January.  In conditions like these, irrigation is really important both for….. Read more

NZ needs more water storage in a changing climate

8th February 2018

The importance of water storage in helping provide a reliable supply of water for urban communities, and for food and energy production in a changing climate needs to be recognised, says IrrigationNZ. “We are seeing the effects of poor future….. Read more

What can we learn from 2017’s wild weather about managing water?

8th February 2018

  As year’s went 2017 was a fairly dramatic one. In February, one of the biggest fires in New Zealand history ignited on the Port Hills amid tinder dry conditions, causing thousands of residents to be evacuated. In March, the….. Read more

Free irrigation workshop for Bay of Plenty farmers

18th January 2018

Bay of Plenty dairy farmers have the opportunity to join a free workshop showing them how to optimise their irrigation use. The workshop will be run by IrrigationNZ and will cover how to assess how well irrigation systems are performing…… Read more

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

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

Foundations of working with tangata whenua workshop

March 6 - March 7

Given the considerable interest shown, INZ have organised a workshop on how to be effective working and negotiating with tangata whenua. Proudly supported by our training partners The learning objectives of this are to: Have a basic idea of who….. Read more

Irrigation Accreditation

Smart Irrigation