Irrigation New Zealand

Understanding Irrigation Scheme Costs in New Zealand 

In 2012, Irrigation New Zealand conducted a survey on the cost of surface water irrigation schemes in Canterbury and reported the cost of delivering water to the farm gate as an annualised cost for each scheme, standardised as $/ha/year and $/m3 of water supplied (Survey of Costs of Surface Water Irrigation Schemes in Canterbury, 2012). 

In 2014 and 2016, the dataset was expanded to include Otago, Canterbury, Marlborough, and Northland irrigation schemes. The reports excluded any costs incurred inside the farm boundary but adjusted the cost for schemes that delivered water under pressure to reflect the relationship to schemes that deliver at zero pressure (i.e. open channel). The cost of all schemes was also standardized to a supply reliability of 95 percent.

In 2023, IrrigationNZ updated the core information through a new survey of the original contributing schemes, drawing on end-of-financial-year 2022 data. The survey aimed to obtain a representative sample of the schemes rather than go back to all the original schemes that contributed in 2016. The survey was well supported, and 17 updated data points were obtained against the original 30 data points (allows 57 percent 2022 updated data).

The purpose of the 2023 report was to determine if there had been any substantive changes in the reported values of $/ha/year and $/m3 of water supplied to inform scheme operators about where their current valuations and operating costs sit in relation to others in the industry.

Follow the links on this page to see the reports. These reports are member access only.