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Gisborne: Workshop to help manage irrigation

4 September 2012

Workshop to help manage irrigation

A free workshop to help local horticulturists manage irrigation will be held next Friday, 14 September. The workshop is one of many being run throughout the country by Irrigation New Zealand and will offer practical ideas, technology and tools irrigators can use.

The focus of the workshop is ‘managing within limits'. It is an opportunity to share information and experience about effective irrigation and find out about what water limits might mean for individual properties. IrrigationNZ has worked with local irrigators and Gisborne District Council to find out what will be relevant for irrigators in the Gisborne region.

There will be practical sessions on 'irrigation essentials' and 'technologies for managing within limits'. Group discussion will cover if, and how farms may need to change, and what tools and knowledge gaps will be required to meet the challenges ahead.

Speakers include Dan Bloomer an expert in irrigation management and Andrew Curtis and Paul Reese of IrrigationNZ.

Water resources in the district are limited especially in the summer when everyone is irrigating, says Council’s water conservation team leader Dennis Crone. “All land users want to be sure Council is managing this limited resource sustainably. At the workshop we will show where water is being allocated in the district at the moment and what the water quality is like.”

Council is developing a Water Plan in conjunction with a Freshwater Advisory Group. The group includes representatives from the horticulture industry.

“Recent research has found declining water levels in the Makauri and Matokitoki gravel aquifers to a statistically significant level. This highlights the need to focus on sustainable and efficient use of these resources,” says Mr Crone.

“We need to have a discussion around how much surface and ground water is allocated compared with a permit holder’s actual use of the resource. This will lead to possible solutions and opportunities that could feed into the Water Plan”.

“Also on the horizon are the new regulations about managing and measuring water takes. Introduced by the Ministry for the Environment, they are important to ensure water permit holders accurately report how much water is being taken. The new regulations apply from November to large irrigators with water takes over 20 litres per second. In the next few years all those with water takes over 5 litres per second will need to get their water meters checked and if required updated.”

The workshop will be held on Friday 14 September 12.45pm at the Bushmere Arms Waerenga-a-Hika. All are welcome.

More information and the full programme can be found at www.irrigationnz.co.nz/events/making-irrigation-pay.


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