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National’s commitment to irrigation & water storage welcomed

November 10, 2011

IrrigationNZ welcomes National’s commitment to irrigation and water storage development

IrrigationNZ welcomes National’s announcement that it will commit money for irrigation and water storage development.

News that the National Party will invest up to $400 million from the Future Investment Fund for irrigation and water storage development is recognition of the significance of the primary sector to New Zealand’s future economy.

Should National win the election it will provide the $400m to confirm funding for the second phase of water priorities to be called the Crown Water Investment Company. Funding will be available from Budget 2013.

Sustainable irrigated agriculture is New Zealand’s future. Water storage and the reliability of supply will future proof the primary sector, enabling environmental outcomes, and increase GDP.

“It’s about growing the economy in line with creating better environmental and social outcomes for all New Zealand,” IrrigationNZ chairman John Donkers said.

Well designed water storage and irrigation is a win for both the economy and the environment.

IrrigationNZ recognises future irrigation development must be economically viable, environmentally sustainable and accepted by the wider community.

“IrrigationNZ is keen for all parties to come on a journey with us, in order for us to achieve these outcomes for all New Zealanders.”

Reliable irrigation enables the added value aspects of primary production to be better realised. Reliability will give existing food producers and processors the confidence to further develop and diversify. Reliable irrigation is crucial to allow investment in processing factories as it guarantees consistent volume and quality supply of product.

There are also other crop options yet to come to New Zealand that have massive potential, Donkers said as he cited development in Tasmania as a lead for New Zealand, where sustainable Farm Water Access Plans are being developed to identify and manage environmental risk, and reliable storage and schemes being built to deliver 95% reliability.

Irrigation is opening up a myriad of high value crop options. It is notable how crops such as pyrethrum and opium poppies have taken off. Tasmania produces 50% of the world pharmaceutical supply for morphine and other medical opiates.

“New Zealand also has much untapped potential in this area.”

To combat the potential impacts from irrigated agriculture. IrrigationNZ, in partnership with all primary sector groups, is actively implementing a strategy to provide the tools for all irrigators and their service industries to achieve Good Practice Irrigation by the end of 2012.

For farmers this includes information and tools to help correctly select an irrigation system for their farm or orchard; irrigation operator training to ensure irrigation systems are run to their full potential, and evaluation tools to help consistently monitor, trouble shoot and optimise performance.

Audited Self Management programmes used in conjunction with farm risk management plans identify environmental risk for each farm and provide solutions for the management of each risk identified. These are then audited by independent auditors to check the irrigator is following their risk management strategy, and also involve corrective action followed by penalties for those that do not come up to scratch.

For irrigation service industries the strategy includes a New Zealand irrigation design code, standards and an accreditation programme to ensure designers can and will perform to the required level and farmers get the systems they need, and also a New Zealand irrigation Installation code, standards and training to up-skill the industry and ensure irrigation systems are installed correctly.

Irrigation NZ

Irrigation NZ is the national body representing all irrigation interests in a unified voice to promote excellence in irrigation development and efficient water management based on the principles of responsible and sustainable water management throughout New Zealand.

ENDS

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