IrrigationNZ e-news update
SMART IRRIGATOR Edition No. 48, October 2018

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Update from the Chair

Myself, my fellow board member Keri Johnston and our Chief Executive Andrew Curtis had a busy schedule of meetings in Wellington recently. We met with Minister David Parker, NZ First MP’s,  National’s environmental spokesman and their agricultural caucus. These were productive meetings. Minister Parker indicated changes to the NPS and tougher regulation and frameworks regarding sediment and nutrient allocation. We continue to impress on the government the commitment of irrigators nationally to good management practice and in catchments under pressure that a focus on land use activities through nutrient limits will be more effective than a 'one size fits all' approach. The Minister acknowledged that providing flexibility for land use change was important. NZ First MPs signalled the Provincial Growth Fund could consider proposals like MAR or environmental enhancement projects and we encourage our communities to engage on this basis. The National Ag caucus has invited INZ to contribute ideas on future water policy. 

As you will be aware, our Chief Executive Andrew Curtis is stepping down from the role to pursue new consultancy ventures. We are fortunate that he will stay in the role until March to allow time to appoint a replacement. Andrew has a huge breadth of knowledge in water and irrigation and he has led a number of projects to improve irrigation practice and training opportunities over the past decade. We are grateful for the significant contribution he has made to INZ and we wish him well for the future.

Nicky Hyslop
IrrigationNZ Chair

New Essential Freshwater plan out 

The government released a new plan for water called Essential Freshwater recently. The plan aims to have new rules in place by 2020 to stop the degradation of waterways and to achieve noticeable improvements in freshwater quality within five years. You can read more about some of the key issues for our members online here

Fish screen study highlights design issues 

Environment Canterbury recently carried out a pilot study of a number of fish screens which found that many screens did not meet design standards. ECAN is now planning a  fish screen improvement campaign.

IrrigationNZ has facilitated a workshop with ECAN for fish screen manufacturers and designers to discuss how screen design could be improved based on the study. NIWA is also planning to research native fish behaviour around fish screens to inform future design.

We have also applied for funding from the Sustainable Farming Fund to develop an approved contractor programme. Approved contractors would need to demonstrate they comply with ECAN design requirements. 

Upcoming training

We’ve had a busy spring providing training sessions for a number of irrigation schemes. If you would like to tailor a training session please get in touch with Steve at sbreneger@irrigationnz.co.nz or on 027 688 1299.

Better management of irrigation can potentially save you thousands in electricity costs over a couple of seasons, as well as reducing nutrient leaching and enabling you to manage your water allocation through dry seasons with the least impact on your crop or pasture growth, so its worthwhile investing in training.

Our upcoming training sessions cover:

Irrigation Operator & Manager training, Waimakariri, 8 Nov (full day)

Bucket Test Workshop, Darfield, 29 Nov (half day)

Soil Moisture Monitoring & Irrigation Scheduling workshop, Darfield, 29 Nov (half day).

Draft Good Management Practice guides 

We have developed draft guides to good management practice for border dyke and spray irrigation. The guides will very likely be adopted by regional councils and the government in future. We would like to hear your comments on these before we finalise them, Contact Andrew Curtis with your thoughts.

Submissions

We are currently working on submissions to the Electricity Pricing Review, the Tax Review Working Party and we are reviewing the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill . If you have any comments on these issues please contact Andrew.



Water measurement Code of Practice 

We have updated the Code of Practice following a Water Measurement (Telemetry) Masterclass we held in August. The updates are to the data management section of the Code (section D) to provide clearer expectations and levels of service for those who provide data management services. The requirements for meter installation have also been amended to refer to pipe diameters needing to meet manufacturers specifications. 

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