Irrigation New Zealand

IrrigationNZ has for many years been calling for an integrated and long-term strategic approach to the management of freshwater in New Zealand.

The organisation is pleased to see the Auditor General’s report released on February 12, Reflecting on our work about water management.

IrrigationNZ Chief Executive Elizabeth Soal said the organisation agreed on all three of the points that:

  • - A strategic and integrated approach would support targeting of investment decisions
  • - A stronger focus on implementation is needed when setting strategy
  • - Long-term thinking is needed when setting a strategic and integrated approach

Ms Soal said the recent drought in Northland and water shortages in Auckland and many other regions of New Zealand this summer, as well as the increased number of bush fires, has demonstrated our need to have a long term focus on water which ensures the country’s resilience to climate change.

“We really feel like there needs to be an overarching water strategy that’s guiding our decision making around water - whether that’s quantity, quality, allocation, or infrastructure.”

“Of course, as with any strategy this must be based on data, fact and science. Which is why urgent investment in data and mapping of our water is needed” Ms Soal said. It was pleasing to see Hawkes Bay Regional Council and its partners launch a 3D mapping project to gain a better understanding of the water table situation. This kind of research needs more support from Government.”

“We would also like to see a more bipartisan, and inclusive, approach to freshwater water management in New Zealand - it is that important a resource that we can no longer afford to quibble about it.”

Ms Soal said water is essential to ensuring a healthy and thriving Aotearoa.

“Water storage and irrigation have multiple benefits and contribute to environmental, community, cultural and economic wellbeing. Water issues need to be de-politicised and water policy, planning and investment must be holistic. New Zealand needs a water strategy guided by an independent water commission”.

Further comment: Ella Stokes, IrrigationNZ Communications Manager, 027 521 6271