Iden­ti­fy­ing wa­ter chal­lenges

Farmer’s so­lu­tion


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.

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