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Irrigation Overview. root zone. water table. Why Irrigate?. Market Drivers. Agricultural exports significant to NZ’s balance sheet Reliable & Quality supply needed to maintain market entry Increasing input costs make production high risk without certainty. root zone.

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Why irrigate

root zone

water table

Why Irrigate?

Market drivers
Market Drivers

  • Agricultural exports significant to NZ’s balance sheet

  • Reliable & Quality supply needed to maintain market entry

  • Increasing input costs make production high risk without certainty

Why irrigate1

root zone

water table

Why Irrigate?

Irrigation = Tool for Better Risk Management

Economic benefits of irrigation
Economic Benefits of Irrigation

Opuha 2004/05 – 16,000ha

  • Gross Farm Revenue x2.74 ($900 - $2,100/ha)

  • Farm Expenditure x2.33 ($644 - $1,503/ha)

  • Cash Farm Surplus x2.74 ($210 - $570/ha)

  • Employment x2.6 (74 – 192)

    Whole Community:

  • $41 million value added per year

  • 480 FTE’s jobs

  • Younger & better educated

Economic benefits of irrigation1
Economic Benefits of Irrigation

NOIC 2009/10 – 10,000ha

  • Gross Farm Revenue x3.1 ($21million - $65million)

  • Farm Expenditure x3.1 ($13million - $43million) – most flows to local economy

  • Cash Farm Surplus x3.1 ($7million - $22million)

  • Employment x2.1 (71- 147 FTE’s) direct

  • Farmers spent $62million in conversion – most flows to local economy

Benefits of irrigation
Benefits of Irrigation

More than $$$’s...... but they are the enabler

Prosperity = Opportunity

  • Social (community)

    • resilience

    • quality of service provision

  • Recreation

    • New opportunities

    • improvements to existing

  • Cultural / Environmental

    • mitigation

    • restoration

We recognise there are costs
We Recognise There are Costs

Social (community)

  • direct property loss


  • someone’s favourite swim hole / fishing spot

    Cultural / Environmental

  • Direct habitat

  • Indirect impacts – water quality

    It’s about establishing a ‘framework’

    (CWMS targets) and testing options

    Informing the politics and emotion

Irrigation system components
Irrigation System Components

  • More complex than just use........

  • Need to consider -

  • Supply (take characteristics)

  • Distribution (how gets to farm)

  • Use (how applied)

What is irrigation efficiency
What is Irrigation Efficiency?

Many definitions (over 40)………

  • Technical (how much used)

  • Allocative / Economic – Highest value achieved (society)

  • Dynamic – Adjusting to above over time (flexibility)

    Within Technical

  • Production

  • Hydrological

  • Profitability

  • Energy……….

    But all easier said than done!!!

What are the main inefficiencies
What are the Main Inefficiencies?

Lincoln Environmental Data

Irrigation is not uniform
Irrigation is Not Uniform



Measured application efficiencies

Solid Set

Rotating Boom

Fixed Boom

Travelling Gun

Centre Pivot

Linear Move

*Multiple sprayline

Side Roll



Bubbler Low Head

Basin Paddy


Border Strip

Furrow Modern


0 20 40 60 80 100

percent efficiency

Measured Application Efficiencies

Canterbury, Hawke’s Bay & Marlborough

From A.J. Clemmens

Irrigation reliability
Irrigation Reliability

Reliability = Continuity of Supply

Measured by level of drought / security

High reliability usually requires a ‘storage’

  • Reservoirs / dams

  • Groundwater

Irrigation reliability1
Irrigation Reliability

Achieving ‘Good Management Practice’ more complex than on-farm practices

Reliability of supply – key driver and an enabler

Also Drives Land Use (Risk Management)

Pastoral low reliability = OK

Alternative easy (import feed / dry-off)

Arable & Horticulture = Higher Reliability

No or reduced yield

Reliability creates environmental outcomes
Reliability Creates Environmental Outcomes

Water Infrastructure (storage) NOT a reward ........... it’s essential to the Solution

Uncertainty = ‘Just in Case’ management


Certainty = ‘Just in Time’ management

Optimal water use = Optimal environmental performance

Less water per hectare, less storage required

and less losses (leaching) =

Improved Water Quality

Irrigation overview

Reliability System Linkages

Security and Certainty

(Duration of right coupled with sureness of future policy goalposts))


(Multi-purposewater storage)

Crop Diversity & Added Value

(Increased range of crops grown & more local processing)

Investment - Water Use Efficiency

(Efficient distribution and application systems coupled with ‘just in time’ management)

Resilient Communities

(Diverse local economy & greater prosperity)

Reduced Energy

(Distribution and application system optimisation)

Environmental Performance

(Minimise cumulative effects - water use and nutrient losses)

Irrigation overview

Deliver ‘right amount’ to farm so farmer can deliver the ‘right amount’ at the ‘right time’

Irrigation overview

Tensiometers ‘right amount’ at the ‘right time’

Irrigation overview

Complex/Uncontrollable ‘right amount’ at the ‘right time’


knowledge systems, local governance systems


Public participation, co-management, motivation, ethical/value systems

Biophysical and social resilience and capacities - foresee, buffer, adapt, & shape/vision a future; innovative and initiating cultures


Economic instruments, incentivise desired outcome thru ‘rational choice’ market models

Scenario analysis; adaptive management; monitoring



Regulate effects (set ‘outcome’ standards), monitor, top-down ‘educate’

Regulate activities, monitor & control


Increasing Uncertainty/Irregularity

Choices in Perspective

Irrigation overview

What is Audited Self-Management ‘right amount’ at the ‘right time’

‘Transfer of day-to-day resource management responsibilities to users, under agreed terms (self management) and subject to an accountability (audit) process’

Much Confusion Around ASM –

But we have ventured into the space informally and formally

Irrigation overview

The Drivers ‘right amount’ at the ‘right time’

  • Harnesses community energy and knowledge

  • Align regulatory with market compliance and farm management needs

  • Drives cost efficiencies - market for regulatory & streamlines multiple needs

  • Decrease regulatory cost to general rate payer

  • More effective management comes through partnership (compared to top down enforcement)

  • NZ environment and economy needs optimal resource management……..

Irrigation overview

INZ Projects ‘right amount’ at the ‘right time’

  • Irrigator User Groups

  • Days of Individual consent holder numbered

  • Future = catchment / zonal based management

  • Prize= better environmental management

  • ASM for Rakaia-Selwyn

  • Cost efficiencies

  • Knowledge systems

  • Better environmental management

  • More effective use of available resource

The future 40 years on
The Future…… 40 years on…… ‘right amount’ at the ‘right time’

  • Precision Resource Information

  • Linking of Supply & Demand

  • Real-time Management

  • Incorporation of Forecasting

  • (Resource Availability)

  • Reliable Supply

  • Efficient Use – Precision Irrigation

  • Environmental Outcomes Achieved