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Dr Jim Salinger gets a surprising backer

Dr Jim Salinger gets a surprising backer

With Dr Jim Salinger reinforcing what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported last year, Federated Farmers believes the logic for water storage is now irrefutable.

“Water storage is more than a farming tool it is a legitimate climate adaptation tool as well,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers spokesperson on climate change.

“Whatever ones’ views may be on the causes of climate change, the fact is it is happening and that means we have two realistic options for adaptation.

“First is researching new crops and pasture varieties in the knowledge that farms will face greater environmental stress. This demands an on-going and bipartisan ramp up in both our agricultural research and development spend and science capability.

“The second of course is the huge opportunity New Zealand has to store rain water.

“Last year, the IPCC predicted that New Zealand could face a future climate of heavier extreme rainfall, stronger and more extreme winter winds as well as longer periods of drought.

“South Canterbury’s Opuha dam, the most recent dedicated water storage facility which started operating in the late 1990’s, has proven itself by insulating South Canterbury from drought.

“It is schemes like Opuha, such as Ruataniwha now being proposed in the Hawke’s Bay, which New Zealand needs to build resilience into our economy and society.

“The constant for water remains irrespective of what current land uses are or what they could be in the future.

“There are three basics to growing pasture and crops and they are soils, sunlight and water. While many countries have the first two, it is water, or the lack of it, which limits food production in a world where the supply and demand for food is on a knife edge.

“Stored rain water provides the means to maintain minimum river flows. Water storage is as much environmental infrastructure as it is economic. Every region should be looking at storing rain water and many currently are.

“Aside from being a net food exporter in a world of increasing food shortage, New Zealanders can be very proud that our farmers are among the most carbon efficient in the world.

“Our leadership extends to our country’s role in the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases and the Palmerston North based Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium.

“Dr Jim Salinger has confirmed what many of us on-farm knew. Last winter was warmer and he puts it at 1.27 degrees Celsius above the 1961-1990 long term average. If it’s getting hotter then we need to store water,” Dr Rolleston concluded.


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