Money for irrigation and cleaner water

Agriculture Minister David Carter  has announced the opening 0f applications for the Irrigation Acceleration Fund:

“NZIER research suggests the fund could support 340,000ha of new irrigation, which could boost exports by $1.4 billion a year by 2018, rising to $4 billion a year by 2026.

“All successful projects will need to be committed to good industry practice that promotes efficient water use and environmental management, particularly around land-use intensification.  Irrigation good practice is essential if we are to protect our vital water resource for tomorrow,” says Mr Carter.  

The fund will support regional scale rural water infrastructure proposals that address:

  • regional rural water infrastructure
  • community irrigation schemes
  • strategic water management studies.

Mr Carter says the Government will contribute up to 50 percent through the fund to successful proposals.  Applications will be assessed by MAF, with input from a panel of independent experts.  The final decision will be made by the Director General of MAF.

The same day Environment Minister Nick Smith announced the criteria and assessment panel for the new fund to help councils and communities clean-up nationally significant water bodies that have been polluted.

That fund was one of the recommendations of the Land and Water Forum which has been engaged by the Government to progress the next stage of policy work on setting limits on water quality, quantity and allocation.

Progress on fresh water reform stalled for a decade because of highly polarised positions. The Land and Water Forum has done a great job bringing together farmers, environmentalists, industry and iwi to develop an agreed way forward. We are releasing today the Government’s high level response to the Land and Water Forum’s April report and are engaging the Forum to do further work on the complex issue of setting water limits and improving systems for allocation,” the Ministers said.

Federated Farmers says the announcements are about the cleaning up from the  past and looking after the future:

The Irrigation Acceleration Fund will help transform and future proof New Zealand agriculture on the same day another fund, the ‘Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up Fund’, will help communities remedy the legacy of the past. . . .

Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers RMA and environment spokesperson said:

“There’s no coincidence that it is announced concurrently with the ‘Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up Fund’. This is about the future every bit as much as the past.

“The $35 million Irrigation Acceleration Fund is a positive step forward to developing water as a resource. That’s because 95 percent of the water used in agriculture does not come from storage and when I use the term agriculture, I include horticulture and the wine industry too.

“Federated Farmers has enthusiastically pushed for a ‘new water’ policy because this is about storing what falls from the sky. Economic studies done on the Opuha Dam during the last Labour Government showed an 8:1 economic payback.

“The $35 million Irrigation Acceleration Fund could well unlock billions of dollars in benefits.

“What’s more, native fish and water fowl can’t prosper in dry river beds. Water also provides recreational and community gains. . . .

Those community gains are environmental, recreational and economic.

Water storage provides opportunities for fishing and water sports, it can enhance waterways to ensure they have a reasonable minimum flow during dry spells and also protect soils from wind erosion.

Storing water for irrigation safe-guards farms during droughts which ensures money keeps flowing through to the people and businesses who work for, supply and service farmers.

We had about 10 mls of rain yesterday, it’s the first significant precipitation since the two winter snow falls. Without irrigation we’d be starting to worry, with reliable water we know we can grow grass whatever the weather.

There is potential for more irrigation here and in other places. The Irrigation Acceleration Fund will help the development of new schemes while the work of the Land and Water Forum will ensure past mistakes are cleaned up and not repeated in the future.

9 Responses to Money for irrigation and cleaner water

  1. robertguyton says:

    $35 million to encourage irrigation to boost agriculture.
    $15 million to clean up waterways ruined by agriculture.


  2. jabba says:

    So I take it you are against this Bob?


  3. fredinthegrass says:

    Sounds fair to me Rg.
    With the consequent flow of increased income from the boost to agriculture, any remedial work needed can be funded and it will be a win-win. Unless of course the “green” movement would consider being taxed at a higher rate to pay for their desires.


  4. robertguyton says:

    Let’s look at it another way jabba and Fred and perhaps both your questions will be answered.

    $36 million in support of the Amerca’s Cup yacht and it’s wealthy adherents.
    $15 million to clean up waterways ruined by agriculture.


  5. ploughboy says:

    rg out of interest what do you think the dairy farmers need to do to stop pollution of dealing with effulent and fertilizer use


  6. robertguyton says:

    Re-discover optimum cow-numbers where the effects on the rivers etc is also taken into account. Adjust their practices so that urea application isn’t the measure by which everything else is managed. Achieve a regular improvement to their farm environment and everything ‘downstream’ of their farm. Firmly link the growth of their pasture to fertilizer inputs – achieve a no-leaks state for nitrates and phosphates. Adjust pasture type and species diversity to achieve better health in individual animals. Measure and report on and achieve an increase in on-farm soil volume, especially with regard its carbon content. Commit to increasing insect biodiversity on every farm. Adopt systems that significantly reduce the mixing of water with cow-shit. Pressure their R&D people to attend to the huge problem of nitrous oxide emissions through cow urine onto pasture.
    That’s just for starters ploughboy but would make me pretty happy.


  7. ploughboy says:

    90% of which is common pactice.only things being cow numbers /no leaks on n is impossable given urine is biggest contribiture but most are working to limit leaks/carbon some are/dont know anyone working on insects/while some are removing solid from effluent not manyare trying to limit too much water from there effluent system as this makes it too consontrated to apply to land.

    we have just tested our bore water on dairy farm came back as 1.4 nitrates less than 1 e-coli .this is after 12 years as a dairy farm


  8. robertguyton says:

    Good direction then ploughboy but is that progress keeping up with the pace of expansion and intensification?
    I think, no.
    On top of that, non-compliance by poor farmers/employees puts all your good work at peril and when that rate is rising as is the number of ‘ring-in’ staff who don’t have a history of farming in the region they find themselves in – pollution events from those causes can ruin waterways very quickly, while nearby farmers practise ‘best practice’.


  9. mort says:

    so you’re proposing corporate farmers RG? You want the rich farmers to get bigger and drive out the small operator, because they risk run-off Nitrogen leakage?
    If we could repeal the disastrous RMA then common law was re-instituted then the coming to the nuisance principle could be re-enacted, and the run-off pollution that so worries you would be a grounds for recognised pre-existing rights holders to sue the person/ entity responsible.
    With this type of regime in practise, you would quickly see riparian barrier plantings occurring, the added bonus for these would be that he plant material would act as a Nitrogen Sink and minimise the run off into the water way. The farmer could also gain use out of them by planting varieties that were able to either composted, bulk combustible fuel or silage, or perhaps flax varieties could be grown to supply new plant fibre industries.
    But the RMA basically prints a license to pollute, and is just a waste of time and money.
    With regards to the irrigation disproportionality, this is exactly the way it should be. Both expenditures will have multiplier effects, and the irrigation bonuses mean great revenues, and thus more of the theft you so admire allowing governmental waste on vote buying frivolities.


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