IrrigationNZ says the 10 year river quality trends data released by LAWA today shows progress is being made on river quality and that the wider adoption of Farm Environment Plans will lead to continuing improvements.
“There are a range of actions underway in regions across New Zealand to improve water quality and it’s clear that these are having some impact but there is still more work to be done,” says Andrew Curtis, Chief Executive of IrrigationNZ.
“The adoption of Farm Environment Plans is one of the factors helping to improve water quality where they are being used. The plans require farmers and growers to take action to manage environmental risks specific to their properties and address issues like sediment, effluent, and nutrient losses. Horizons Regional Council was an early adopter of Farm Environment Plans and their waterways have recorded improvements as a result of this change. In Canterbury, where the plans are also required we are also seeing improvements in a range of river quality measures. It is encouraging to see that the actions farmers are taking are helping to make a difference."
Earlier this year, the farming leaders group committed to a goal of having all farmers and growers adopt a Farm Environment Plan. The plans are required in Canterbury and Horizons and on some farms in Hawke's Bay, Otago and Waikato. Some farmers have also voluntarily adopted their own plans.
Most irrigators have already adopted Farm Environment Plans and are working to continue improving these.