Extra farm water allowed
As of last week farmers have until January 2015 to apply for extra water usage.
The ruling was made by the Environment Court last week and confirms the Waikato Regional Council’s protection and water resource maintenance policy, variation 6.
The policy means farms can use 15,000 litres of water a day per certificate of title in the cowshed.
Anything that exceeds the limit will require an application for resource consent.
Upper Waikato Irrigators chairman Martin Bennett was witness to the Environment Court ruling and represented the dairy industry.
‘‘There has been an increase in allocation for water usage from the Waikato River. It was 3.64 per cent, it has increased to 5 per cent. It means there will be more consents for ag irrigation.
‘‘It is an absolute win for the South Waikato farming community as it gives more opportunity for growth and development,’’ Mr Bennett said.
The Puketura man and his wife are owners of a 130ha farm, milk 385 cows and are likely to be one of the 3500 Waikato farmers to seek resource consent.
According to Mr Bennett, more water allocation means more consents and an application comes with the condition that farmers will ensure their region’s water quality is protected from sediment, effluent and nutrients.
He said it would cost a farmer $500 to lodge for resource consent but the consent itself was likely to be in the thousands.