Water storage makes sense and cents

The real summer weather holiday makers are enjoying isn’t quite as good for farmers trying to grow pasture and crops.

In year’s gone by the prolonged dry spell in North Otago would have cut farm production and income with the consequent impact on people and businesses who serviced and supplied farmers.

Those on dry land farms will be finding it tough but there’s now sufficient critical mass of irrigation to keep up production on many farms.

However, there is potential for more irrigation with water sotrage which makes sense and cents.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Willis says:

This shows why our push for water storage infrastructure has been heeded by Government. It will provide New Zealand’s farm system with a means to store rainfall when it’s plentiful, a bit like the way water is stored by our towns and cities.

If you want an economic argument for why water storage makes sense, go no further than November’s Overseas Merchandise Trade statistics. These trade statistics came out of a fairly benign winter and spring.

In the  year to last November, the agricultural sector accounted for six of the top-ten physical exports. However, in terms of export dollars, the sector accounted for 80 percent of the top-ten; around $25 billion out of $31 billion.

“When we talk agriculture we include all the work done inside and outside the farmgate. That means our farms and factories generated almost 68 percent of New Zealand’s physical export dollars. Out of our top 40 export commodities, agriculture’s share was 71 percent.

This is not just a dairy story as meat and forestry all turned in double digit growth too. Wool is now just below $800 million for the year to November and that’s up 31.5 percent on last year.

“Equally impressive are less glamorous but valuable exports like leather as well as animal and vegetable fats. Both recorded year-on-year increases well over 20 percent highlighting that the agriculture sector as a whole is delivering what New Zealand needs.

“This export performance given the current rain, or lack of it down south, underscores why water storage is an economic no-brainer. Water storage is all about future proofing.

That performance is good. With more water storage it could be even better and play an even bigger role in economic growth.

9 Responses to Water storage makes sense and cents

  1. bulaman says:

    BUT.. and apprapos (sp?) your comment yesterday about taking the weather..

    Is all this extra H2O in the atmosphere from irrigation impacting the weather/climate? The increasingly cloudy east coast (south) these days may possibly be directly linked to the increased irritation spreading across the land?? We know the impact of the dams in central Otago and the large bodies of water has changed the winter climate, H2O is the gas responsible for 96 percent of the green house effect.. Do we know what we are doing?

  2. Gravedodger says:

    Of course there is a lobby who with their strongly held opposition to Irrigation and dairy farming, oppose all and any attempt to investigate “water storage” options anywhere.
    Just read Sam Mahons pathetic little diatribe on things water related in Nth Canterbury and the Hurunui in particular.
    The River I remember in the late 50s/early 60s when a period of successive drys left fish dieing in pools, not quite the nostalgic past he waxed lyrical about in his youth.

  3. robertguyton says:

    ‘Fish dieing in ponds’ would be a natural phenomenon, I’d have thought, providing conditions were natural. Why do we feel we have to interfere with natural events? It’s like the Australians who extinguish minor bushfires that would clear the tinder that collects beneath their native trees, and instead suffer massive conflagrations. Nostalgia isn’t all about fluffy joy joy, it’s built from adversity as well.
    I’d have thought you’d subscribe to that idea, Gravedodger.

  4. jabba says:

    bOb’s on the rampage after the Heralds article on organics .. bOb supports the 2% while the 98% miss out on his expensive food which also requires extra land to produce so little

  5. robertguyton says:

    Not even mildly irritated, Bryson.

  6. pdm says:

    RG says (11.17am) – `Why do we feel we have to interfere with natural events?’

    A strange question from you RG given that the Greens want us to interfere at monumental levels and high cost to stop the `mythical’ Global Warming. You can’t have it both ways you know.

  7. robertguyton says:

    You are unable to answer that question then, pdm?
    How about this?
    If your land needed the water that fell as rain on my land, then seeped through to yours, how would you feel if I captured all of it and kept it long enough for your crops to fail?

  8. Ross says:

    RG I suspect you are being quite disingenuous, especially given your elected role – you will know that almost all large water storage resource consents are for takes during peak flood flows. Hardly the scenario you are promoting…..

  9. robertguyton says:

    You are reading too much into my words, Ross. Both you and pdm have addressed aspects other than the straightforward questions I’ve posed. Perhaps they are too difficult, or too simplistic for you. Guess I’ll never know. They still interest me though.

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