Irrigation New Zealand



IrrigationNZ is pleased to be part of the extensive work being undertaken by the Waikato Regional Council (WRC) to review its regional policy statement and regional plan in response to national directions on how freshwater is managed in their region.

New central and regional government regulations have been adding to water management confusion for farmers and growers. There are several pieces of overlapping regulation and an overall lack of clarity on how the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management will be delivered and what this will mean for irrigators.

Our submission in September 2022 on the proposed Freshwater Policy has been highlighted in the WRC Engagement Stakeholder and Community Engagement Feedback Report, circulated in November 2022.

Our supportive feedback sits alongside other sector commentaries on critical policy elements needed for the resilience of New Zealand’s food and fibre production industries and our communities well-being.

IrrigationNZ Principal Technical Advisor Stephen McNally says WRC noted in its report that IrrigationNZ shares many of the same priorities for freshwater management as other New Zealanders, including reducing environmental footprints and seeing improvements in the health of our waterways; and sustainable use of water that allows this resource to contribute to the wellbeing of communities.

“An increasingly dry climate means more pressure on water sources such as the Waikato River and other surface or groundwater zones. As urban areas continue to encroach on our highly productive soils, there is more pressure on water sources and less available fertile land for farming. Land use change, such as moving away from dairy to intensive horticulture, will also potentially mean an increase in pressure on water sources for supply reliability.”

The changing climate and expanding population reinforce the need for water security and reliability through the consideration of policies to enable water storage. There is a need for strategic direction and advice to regional authorities from the central government for this type of important community infrastructure.

The WRC Engagement Report noted several actions and programmes that IrrigationNZ has initiated to assist with the management of freshwater resources. These initiatives include training programmes that provide farmers and other rural professionals the knowledge to use irrigation water efficiently as part of integrated good farming practices.”

IrrigationNZ works extensively across all irrigated farming and growing industries helping support the adoption of good practices for soil moisture management to allow efficient and reliable food production.

For further comment contact:

IrrigationNZ Communications Manager Ella Stokes