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Water report shows ‘responsible water use’

Media Statement

9 January 2013 – for immediate release

Water report shows ‘responsible water use’

The latest water report from Environment Canterbury demonstrates irrigators in the region are using water responsibly.

Water use data for the 2011/12 year shows only 39% of allocated groundwater and 43% of allocated surface water across Canterbury was taken for irrigation (

“It’s very pleasing to receive confirmation that irrigators use water only when needed. During a wet year like we’ve just experienced, the data shows irrigators will not take water unnecessarily. They recognise its value, monitor rainfall and soil moisture, and reduce their water takes accordingly,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

The report’s findings on water meter uptake in Canterbury (for water takes more than 20 litres per second) were also reassuring, says Mr Curtis.

“The vast majority (88%) have now installed water meters or are in the process of installing. So the compliance picture is far better than we first thought. Also it is being shown that many of the remaining 12% have actually installed meters, it’s just the paperwork has not been submitted by the water metering industry due to extreme workloads. Irrigators should be commended for their responsible attitude, particularly as it is not cheap to measure water. The average water meter installation cost is well in excess of $8,000 per farm”

Once all water takes, with an abstraction rate of more than 20 litres per second, are equipped to measure water use, more than 97% of allocated groundwater and 99% of allocated surface water across Canterbury will be monitored and reported on.

“The opportunity to learn more about our water use has come at a good time. Environment Canterbury’s report confirms pricing signals already drive efficiency of water use. In a wet season, farmers are not wasteful. Using your irrigator costs money in energy, labour and wear and tear, so the suggestion by the green lobby that an additional layer of water charges is needed to drive efficient use is nonsense. Unlike urban drinking water supplies, irrigators already pay a volumetric charge for water.”


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