Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Fast-Track Water Storage To Drought-Proof New Zealand

Media Release
14 March 2013

Fast-Track Water Storage To Drought-Proof New Zealand

IrrigationNZ says water storage needs to be fast-tracked to drought-proof agriculture as New Zealand can no longer carry the cost of a significant drought every five years.

“New Zealand simply cannot afford to bail out its agricultural industry twice every decade - the recent turn-around for a serious dry spell. Over a billion dollars has already been wiped out this summer through drought. Agriculture is what New Zealand is built on – even Auckland – so combating drought is an issue we all need to get to grips with,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

Mr Curtis says the answer lies with a combination of regional and on-farm water storage development, and with a few billion dollars worth of investment, New Zealand could future-proof its agricultural sector and thus its economy.

“For hill country farms having the ability to store water and irrigate a small part of each farm, as little as 20 hectares, would create a strategic advantage for New Zealand agriculture. Irrigation enables feed and produce to continue in a consistent and predictable fashion year in year out.”

“The North Island would not be in such dire straits if we had water storage on-farm. Winter storage is key for hill country environments as stream flows are often erratic. In short, we need to harvest water from adverse events and store it up for sunny days.”

Mr Curtis says recent analysis in the Hawke’s Bay, as part of the Ruataniwha storage proposal, showed when sheep and beef farmers irrigated a percentage of their farm they produced a higher rate of return per irrigated hectare than dairy. Irrigation builds in resilience and provides options to a farming system.

“Imagine how much more efficient our meat and vegetable processors would be if drought didn’t wipe out crops and stock every five years. It’s not just farmers that lose out; it’s their staff, the surrounding community and businesses that rely on agricultural income that also suffer.”

Mr Curtis says while drought hasn’t been declared in the South Island, the dry spell is beginning to hit home.

“With no foreseeable rain on the horizon, South Island irrigators are also starting to feel the pain as river water supplies become restricted and then move to full bans. River-based schemes like Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd have been on restriction, followed by a full ban, for the last month. This has significant economic implications. The scheme calculates around $30million (on and off-farm impacts) has been lost from the district already.”

“In contrast, irrigation schemes serviced by the Opuha Dam in South Canterbury won’t face restriction until the end of March and then possibly only partial restrictions in April. It’s a stark contrast between regions that have access to stored water and those that don’t.”

Opuha Dam has been able to maintain river flows well above the very low natural flows they would normally experience. The flow in the Opihi River currently would be less than 50% of what it is with augmentation – even if there was no irrigation abstraction.

Mr Curtis says the current climatic situation proves the development of reliable water storage and distribution network should be considered ‘a nationally significant strategic investment’.

“Around a billion dollars of investment would future proof Canterbury for the next 100 years. And this investment would be paid back to the community within a decade if the current climatic trend continues.”

IrrigationNZ has recently developed an irrigator ‘toolkit’ and associated training courses for both irrigation development and operation to ensure future irrigation developments are efficient and sustainable. Dryland farmers wanting help with irrigation projects should check out the website www.irrigationnz.co.nz .


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The George Floyd Protests

Poverty, discrimination and repeated acts of police brutality all help to explain the rage being expressed on the streets of American cities right now after the death of George Floyd but there is a more immediate cause as well: Decades of research on police shootings and brutality reveal that officers with a history of shooting civilians, for example, are much more likely to do so in the future compared to other officers... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Twitter Wars, And The Muller Muddles

Whatever the failings of our own politicians, spare a kind thought for the majority of Americans who did not vote for Donald Trump. Sure, it was depressing this week to watch Todd Muller clinging for dear life to his talking points on Q&A, ... More>>


Green Party: Statement On The Death Of George Floyd

“Today and every day we stand in solidarity with George Floyd’s family, friends and community who feel pain and fear about his untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis police”, said Green Party Co-leader and Māori Development spokesperson Marama ... More>>


Government: Freshwater Package Backed By Comprehensive Economic Analysis

Decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways package are supported by comprehensive environmental and economic impact analysis by leading New Zealand research institutes, universities, and private sector firms. More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Lockdown Rules: Government Must Explain Why We’re Still At Level 2

The Government needs to explain to New Zealanders why it won’t consider a move to Alert Level 1 for another week, Leader of the Opposition Todd Muller says.
“Kiwis have made enormous sacrifices to flatten the curve, but if their efforts still aren’t enough to move to Level 1 then the Government must explain why.... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Government: Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020

The New Zealand Order of Merit The Queen has been pleased, on the occasion of the celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday, to make the following appointments to The New Zealand Order of Merit: DNZM To be Dames Companion of the said Order: Distinguished ... More>>

Government: Support For Arts And Music Sector Recovery

A jobseekers programme for the creative sector and four new funds have been set up by the Government to help our arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19. Thousands of jobs will be supported through today’s $175 million package ... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Govt: Deep Concern At Hong Kong National Security Legislation
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.... More>>






InfoPages News Channels