The Water Strategy Water Storage sub-group has developed a resource for growers that looks at water storage options and the pros and cons. With more a changing climate that is resulting in prolonged drier conditions, having access to water for irrigation is going to be critical. Having sufficient water storage allows you to harvest water in times of high flows (in line with your consent) for use at a later time which can also be used for frost protection. Water storage should be a priority consideration for all growers going forward and you can read more about it here.
The government has announced their final decisions on the Action for Healthy Waterways policy. The government has recognised that fruit production is a low intensity activity which means that the industry is exempt from rules such as a nitrogen cap and intensification. The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) and the National Environment Standard (NES) are still being drafted and the rules are expected to be operative from July 2020. Analysis of the rules can be found here.
Historically access to water has been relatively straightforward, however the industry is set to grow by another 2,800ha by 2027. Along with increasing regulation and competition for water rights and usage, the environment for all growers is becoming increasingly complex.
Sustainability is a key driver in the NZ kiwifruit industry – both in terms of our returns and our impact communities and the environment which is why the industry has developed a water strategy to protect and enhance water resources for our people, our environment and our communities while enabling the industry to grow. This includes looking at how we use water, and how we can do so in the most sustainable way, and how we can gather data to measure our progress and improve.
The Ministry for the Environment released a National Environmental Statement and National Policy Statement for consultation in September. NZKGI reviewed this information to assess impacts for kiwifruit growers and drafted a submission along with consultation with the Water Strategy Working Groups, the NZKGI Forum, Growers, Maori Kiwifruit Growers Forum and HortNZ. You can read the submission here.
The freshwater module will identify risks to the health of freshwater from land where you are growing (or plan to) and identify what you will do to reduce any current contamination and improve water health going forward.
− All growers will need a freshwater module of a farm plan by 2025, except those with orchards 5ha and under and orchards in at risk catchments (orchards in at risk catchments will require a freshwater module two years within start date of the policy becoming operative). We are considering a one for all approach with the freshwater module which would mean all orchards would require a freshwater module of a farm plan – regardless of size.
Reporting on water use of 5 litres per second or more has been a regulatory requirement since 2016 however the type of reporting model used has been adhoc and Councils are struggling, at times, to understand data. This requirement will mean that growers whose water take is 5 litres per second, or more will be required to use a telemetry system
A resource consent will be required when the area of land used for irrigation production increases by 10 ha or more from the start date of the policy becoming operative
This rule only applies to growers with wetlands. The proposed rule looks at setbacks that limits vegetation destruction, earth disturbance and water take activities from happening
This will only apply to orchards in at risk catchments. Proposed rules are to manage excessive nitrogen leaching by a national nitrogen fertiliser cap or through the freshwater module of a farm plan.
Catchment name Region
Taharua River Hawke’s Bay (7 orchards)
Waipao Stream Northland (38 orchards)
Mataura River Southland
Oreti River Southland
Waimatuku Stream Southland
Aparima River Southland
Waihopai River Southland
Waingongoro River Taranaki
Motupipi River Tasman Region (1 orchard)
Piako River Waikato Region (5 orchards)
Waihou River Waikato Region (42 orchards)
Parkvale Stream Wellington
Upper Rangitaiki and Bay of Plenty (upstream of their confluence only)