Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Drought highlights urgent need for New Zealand water storage

Voxy (New Zealand): Reliable irrigation is the way forward to ensure sustainable and resilient communities says Irrigation NZ as it highlights the urgent need for nationwide water storage. Agriculture Minister David Carter foreshadowed a major water package as part of the government's response to climate change when he spoke after meeting Northland's drought-affected farmers.

…While government has financially assisted the planning stages of community water storage projects, through the Community Irrigation Fund, none have yet proceeded to implementation stage. And that time can't come quick enough, says IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis.

"Reliable Irrigation is the way forward to minimise boom bust scenarios and create wealth and opportunity for communities alongside resilience." Farmers get a risk management tool and it also enables them to undertake better environmental management, Curtis said.

Good Management Practice (GMP) irrigation keeps grass and crops growing optimally absorbing the applied nutrients. This enables farmers to proactively manage losses from the system, as opposed to a dry land scenario where there is no control over soil moisture and consequent plant growth, leaving outcomes unequivocally in the hands of the rain gods! Across the country it's shaping up to be a long summer and there is every likelihood other areas will soon find themselves in the same situation as Northland.

…In terms of production, reliable irrigation demonstrates clear benefits. Due to the declared drought in Northland and the looming drought declaration in Waikato, these two regions, without reliable water supply, are falling well behind the central South Island in terms of production. For example, milk production in the upper North Island, including Northland, has this month (December 11 figures) dropped 8% on a daily basis compared to last season. Waikato has fallen 10.5% while the central South Island (Canterbury and North Otago) has increased 5.5%....

An aerial shot en route between Rotorua and Wellington, shot by Phillip Capper, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: