Ex­tra farm water al­lowed

South Waikato News - - FARMING - By LIBBY KIS­SICK

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.

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