Identifying water challenges
A$50,000 boost from the South Waikato District Council is set to help a DairyNZ-driven water allocation project.
The council originally committed the money from the $5 million community development fund to a nutrient study until it was found that the study was already well catered for.
The new water allocation project will see the funds used to research and compile information on several river catchment levels, including the Waihou river which services the South Waikato.
The information will be used to identify challenges ahead and then strategies will be formed to tackle the issues.
As a member of the Upper Waikato and Waikato-Piako catchment committee, councillor Herman Van Rooijen gave it the thumbs up.
‘‘We’ve [the council] come to the conclusion that there is already so much done there with highpowered people.’’
The dairy farmer by trade said the concern over water use by dairy farmers was only a new development.
‘‘Water allocation is a huge subject. Eight years ago nobody thought the Waikato would be short of water, but we are not short . . . [the project helps] by giving them more certainty about water and helping them use their water smarter.
‘‘The government planned on doubling agriculture production by 2025 – does that mean more animals or highly productive animals?’’
He said this plan would also affect how water allocation would work. While he does not know the outcome of the project, he said this type of research was always needed.
‘‘I am passionate about farming full stop, and for farming to progress you have to look at where the problems are.’’
Farmers in the South Waikato also had a crack at their own water preservation including Tokoroa farmer Pieter Ebeling. The dairy farmer has a liquid filtration system on his farm which was built in the winter.
While the stock are feeding on the feedpad, dairy washwater, effluent and rainwater will flow down into a ‘‘weeping wall’’ system where liquids will get separated from solids.
It is then pumped into a pond which can hold up to 4.5 million litres.
‘‘Once it’s full we can use it to irrigate the pasture.’’
He said the liquid storage will be ‘‘sufficient’’ for a period of six months and will be used for irrigating 30 acres of chicory during dry summer months.
Innovative ways: Pieter Ebeling is on the way to finishing his water filtration system to fill a 4.5-million litre pond in time for summer.