Why do we irrigate in New Zealand?
Water is essential for farmers to produce many of our daily food items. The availability, price and diversity of our food, particularly our fruit and vegetables,are linked to irigation in some way.
In some areas of New Zealand (primarily the East Coast and Central Otago) the land being irrigated often does not receive sufficient or regular enough summer rainfall to guarantee crop survival. Irrigation is therefore essential for the production of high quality food and to make sure there is enough of it.
In other regions the reason for irrigation may be to combat a particularly dry season (a drought) or to ensure high value food crops (kiwifruit for example) always have the right amount of water during a critical growth phase. In some places irrigation is even used for frost fighting!
The diagram below shows how crops receive and use water.
What do we irrigate in New Zealand?
Irrigation is used to irrigate a diverse range of land uses in New Zealand, including dairy, sheep and beef, arable, vegetables, fruit production, and more.
The diagram below provides a breakdown of this.
Where do we irrigate?
The map below shows the irrigated area for each region in New Zealand.