IrrigationNZ e-news update
SMART IRRIGATOR Edition No.47, September 2018


Good news for the start of the season!

While there is still a lot of work ahead for the Waimea dam project, the recent Council vote to support the dam is a good decision. The dam will benefit future generations by enabling environmental restoration of the Waimea River, and providing secure domestic, industrial and irrigation water. All of these are critical for a thriving Nelson community producing high value food and wine, in line with current government focus. Multi-purpose water storage is key to improve our market opportunities and climate change resilience.

We also had a significant win for Canterbury recently in our appeal on Plan Change 5 rules. This has saved our members over $200 million and it certainly demonstrates the value of having a national membership organisation for irrigators.

We will host our AGM on 21 November and we are considering a change to our board makeup to include independent directors to ensure our governance model is fit for the future. Independent, board appointed directors would allow us to draw on a wider skill set and complement the knowledge of elected board members. Your INZ board is therefore recommending that we have up to 6 elected board members (currently 8) and up to 2 appointed independent board members. We will prepare a more detailed paper on this issue but if you have comments on this please don’t hesitate to contact your board members.

Nicky Hyslop
Chair, IrrigationNZ

Check your irrigation is ready to go! 

Spring is here, and the irrigation season is just around the corner.

Now's the time to carry your pre-season checks and if required a bucket test to check your irrigation system is applying water evenly. You can download IrrigationNZ's free "Check It Bucket Test" app from Google Play or the App Store. We also have start-up checklists available to INZ members online.

PC5 changes benefit irrigators

INZ's appeal to ECAN's Plan Change 5 rules around irrigation application efficiency has been resolved. ECAN's original proposal was estimated to cost irrigators $300 million as all older spray irrigation systems would need replacing. Negotiations with parties have resulted in rule changes which reduce the Plan Change cost to irrigators to $80 million. Now only older spray systems operating on light soils are likely to need upgrading. Other older spray systems can be used if they are operated in line with good management practice (using scheduling and regular bucket tests).

We still have concerns about irrigation proxies but we hope these issues can worked through at a stakeholder working group ECAN has said they will set up to look at irrigation and fertiliser proxies. 

Upskill your team this Spring at these events:

Irrigation Operator & Manager Training, Cromwell, 9 Oct, covers:

  • good irrigation practice and regulatory requirements 
  • how to operate and manage systems correctly   
  • when to irrigate, and what technology can help you make irrigation decisions.

Bucket Test WorkshopDarfield, 29 Nov, covers: 

  • how to perform a bucket test and use the bucket test app
  • how to assess your results and when you need to call in a maintenance expert. 

Soil Moisture Monitoring & Irrigation Scheduling Workshop, Darfield, 29 Nov, covers: 

  • soil moisture monitoring and scheduling tools to suit different crop and soil types 
  • installing tools, interpreting data, and irrigation scheduling.

Nebraska Study Tour

A party of 25 farmers, growers, irrigation service industry and scheme representatives has just returned from a study tour of Nebraska organised by IrrigationNZ.

The group visited leading irrigators and several natural resource districts responsible for managing water. The Husker Harvest Days - the world’s largest irrigated farm show - was also a highlight. They looked at research sites and trial farms to study the use of irrigation and fertigation, which has much untapped potential here. They also found time to join a Huskers football game with 90,000 fans and visit the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. 

Electricity price review 

The government recently released the first report of the Electricity Price Review. Submissions on this close on 23 October. We will include our draft submission on this in our next e newsletter. 

Join a Canterbury Zone Committee

ECAN is inviting applications from people to join water zone committees until 8 October. To find out more visit their website.

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