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Kiwifruit orchards put pressure on water resource

Kiwifruit orchards put pressure on water resource

For immediate release: Tuesday 30 March 2004 New kiwifruit orchards are putting pressure on the Bay of Plenty’s water because they need to be irrigated more often. However, orchardists – and most other water users – are generally taking reasonably good care of the region’s limited water resources, says Environment Bay of Plenty.

Environment Bay of Plenty looks after a total of 750 resource consents for irrigation or minor water takes, mostly for farms and orchards. Every year, staff visit and check 100 to 200 consents to make sure they are “up to scratch”, explains principal compliance officer Andy Bruere.

Last summer, 95% of the 102 consents monitored, all located in the western Bay of Plenty, complied with their conditions. For those that didn’t, it was often a matter of paperwork, Mr Bruere says.

“Water is becoming more precious as more people want to use it, whether for orchards, farms, industry or for drinking. So we need to make very sure that it is shared out fairly and that none is wasted.“ In some areas, there is a lot of pressure on rivers and streams, he adds.

The survey highlighted a significant increase in horticulture in the western Bay of Plenty. “Kiwifruit vines need more water when they are young,” Mr Bruere explains. Fortunately, after the establishment phase, water use slows down, he says. “However, orchards sometimes need significant amounts of water for frost protection.”

All irrigation resource consents are reported on every five years.

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