Water

Ruataniwha plains ‘drying up’

[11 June/Radio NZ] Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Head, James Palmer, was concerned about a major increase in the amount of water farmers may be able to take for irrigation from a Ruataniwha aquifer. A board of inquiry ruled that an additional 15 million cubic metres of water could be taken from underneath the basin. Eight...

‘Suck it and see’ avo water consents worry conservationists

[7 June/Radio NZ] Northland was looking to become the avocado capital of New Zealand after the granting of water rights for growers north of Kaitaia. Seventeen growers were given resource consents to draw 2 million cubic metres of water a year from the Aupouri aquifier. Nearly 1,000 hectares of trees were being planted in avocados...

Swimmable rivers not just a rural issue, agriculture minister says

[27 May/Stuff] Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, did not accept that the Government’s freshwater quality targets were unattainable but said the whole country needed to do better. The Policy Statement for Freshwater Management set a goal of having 90 percent of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. Currently 72 percent of the rivers and lakes are...

Ravensdown effluent tech aimed at saving water

[7 May/The Country] Ravensdown and Lincoln University are launching new technology aimed at saving water that is being used to wash down dairy yards. According to Ravensdown Effluent Technology Manager, Jamie Thompson, ClearTech was designed to cut freshwater use, help existing effluent storage go further and reduce the environmental and safety risk. About a quarter...

Responsible irrigators should ‘tell the good news’

[19 April/The Country] Central Otago Mayor, Tim Cadogan, said that responsible irrigators needed to spread the word about good work being done in the primary sector. He added that primary and irrigation sectors were under pressure from the public to act responsibly, but did not court publicity and therefore the public did not know of...

Irrigation body confident of big projects despite govt cuts

[17 April/Radio NZ] Irrigation New Zealand was confident that ending government subsidies would not spell the end of large-scale irrigation projects. They held their biennial conference last week which looked at the future of the sector. Irrigation New Zealand Chief Executive, Andrew Curtis, said the government funded entity had only granted a small portion of...

National takes swipe at government over axeing irrigation schemes

[12 April/Otago Daily Times] The National Party were disappointed with the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, for not consulting properly before cancelling funding for several large proposed irrigation schemes. The government said big private irrigation schemes had to be self-financing. National’s Agricultural Spokesman, Nathan Guy, said Mr O’Connor did not consult Crown Irrigation Investments before...

Making our rivers swimmable comes at a cost of $217million a year

[29 March/Stuff] It was estimated to cost $217 million a year to make all our rivers swimmable by 2040, according to the Ministry for the Environment. A swimmable river has low levels of E. coli, which was used as an indicator of the risk to human health. Currently, 71.2 percent of rivers and lakes are...

Waimea Irrigators extend water share sale deadline by two more weeks

[25 March/Stuff] Waimea Irrigators Limited originally intended to close its offer on its water shares on 22 March, however they announced that it would stay open for a further two weeks. WIL Board Member, Julian Raine, said the board had received enough feedback that people needed more time to consider the offer and that six...

Federated Farmers trying to raise $50k for PC10 challenge in Rotorua

[20 February/NZ Herald] Federated Farmers want to raise $50,000 to challenge a controversial plan to improve water quality in Lake Rotorua. Their opposition to the plan was labelled as ridiculous by a group working to improve lake water quality. Four appeals have been lodged to the Environment Court against the plan. According to the Federated...

Power firm asks region’s farmers to use irrigators safely around power lines

[30 January/Timaru Herald] Alpine Energy is warning South Canterbury farmers to be alert to the significant risks of using irrigators around power lines after five outages occurred in January caused by jets of water.  The company is asking farmers to be consider where they place their portable irrigators and to be careful when moving them...

Fed Farmers urge govt to reconsider irrigation loans

[3 January/ Radio New Zealand National] The Labour/ New Zealand First Collation government is being urged by Federated Farmers not to follow through on its promise to cancel any new loans to irrigation schemes.  Labour campaigned on introducing a water levy on farmers (although this has been placed on hold as a result of the coalition...

Hawke’s Bay winegrowing future uncertain in face of water order

[5 December/ NZ Herald] Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers Association Legal Counsel, James Gardner Hopkins said winegrowers could live with some form of water conservation order on the upper Ngaruroro River, and it aligned with the association’s industry sustainability values so it could conditionally support it. However, Mr Hopkins added that this support was based on multiple...

EPA chief scientist says irrigation good for environment

[27 November/ Otago Daily Times] Environment Protection Authority Chief Scientist, Jacqueline Rowarth said irrigation, when carefully managed, was greatly beneficial to the environment. Ms Rowarth explained that irrigation led to organic matter growing in the soil, schedules being met, and therefore happy bank managers because farmers could guarantee their income stream. Ms Rowarth added that...

New Zealand’s most improved river is in irrigation territory

[23 November/ Stuff] The Pahau River in North Canterbury has been awarded the supreme prize for the most improved river at the annual River Awards. The award was based on the Hurunui river showing the most significant decline in E coli levels over the last 10 years as it achieved reductions of 15.6 percent a...

Joint efforts on water quality

[12 November/Otago daily times] At a meeting in Omakau last week, local farmers and the Otago Regional Council discussed their water quality improvement strategy with Environmental Resource Scientist Rachel Ozanne and Environmental Officer Melanie Heather. The strategy involves ongoing testing of water at Thompson’s creek, Waipiata and Bannockburn. Testing began six weeks ago and will...

Stricter river flows likely to stay in Tukituki catchment

[7 November/ New Zealand Herald] CHB water users have appealed to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to extend the deadline to meet new minimum flow and allocation limits under its plan change for the Tukituki catchment. To overcome the Plan Change Six (PC6) challenges, many water users had signed up to the abandoned Ruataniwha Water Storage...

Further doubts raised over CHB wastewater plants

[7 November/New Zealand Herald] An independent review of the Waipukurau and Waipawa wastewater treatment plants has raised serious concerns in its initial findings. The review was issued by the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council following ongoing odour issues and breaches of resources conditions for ammonia levels. The company which built them, Waterclean Technologies, was now...

Kiwis united on water quality, Fonterra chairman says

[6 November/Stuff] Fonterra Chairman John Wilson spoke at the dairy co-operative’s annual meeting on Thursday on the myth of the rural-urban divide when it comes to water quality. He confirmed that farmers were just as committed to achieving swimmable rivers as anyone else. He was disappointed that the supposed divide had been leveraged for political...

Federated Farmers: Pledges kick-start next phase for RiverWatch

[24 October/New Zealand Herald] Riverwatch recently achieved its $50,000 funding target from a PledgeMe campaign launched on August 9. The 2016 WWF Conservation Innovation Award-winning water quality tester is a solar-powered, Wi-Fi enabled floating sensor unit that measures water quality over a sustained period. The founders of Water Action Initiative (WAI) NZ, Wairarapa Farmer Grant...

Deteriorating harbour conditions prompt review

[19 October/New Zealand Herald] Waitaki District Council’s new chief executive has ordered an immediate legal review of respective agency responsibilities surrounding the Oamaru Harbour and associated maritime activities. The review was announced as concerns were raised about the difficulties a disabled yacht faced trying to enter the harbour this weekend. John Burton, a specialist in...

Health warning issued for Otautu Bay on Lake Rotoehu

[19 October/New Zealand Herald] A health warning has been issued for Otautu Bay on Lake Rotoehu due to the presence of algal blooms likely due to the potentially toxic blue-green algae. Sampling has been undertaken to confirm this. People have been advised to avoid any activity which results in significant contact with the lake. Contact...

Rise in Taranaki groundwater nitrate levels coincide with increased dairying

[18 October/Stuff] A Taranaki Regional Council report has confirmed that the rise in dairy production in the region over the past five years has seen a corresponding increase in the groundwater nitrate levels. Overall analysis of groundwater showed nitrate concentrations in Taranaki were low. The council analysed more than 530 water samples from 35 shallow...

Kaikoura farmers face radical changes

[12 October/ Farmers Weekly] Project Manager and Environment Canterbury Land Adviser Jodie Hoggard said areas of the Kaikoura Plains were so wet that the council and industry groups such as DairyNZ and Fonterra were looking to Southland and Waikato for advice. Farmers reported some bores have dried while other areas were now suitable for wetlands....