With irrigation season underway Environment Canterbury is reminding irrigators to be aware of where their water is going and irrigate the grass-not the road.
Environment Canterbury principal resource management advisor Richard Purdon said several complaints have already been received so irrigators need to adjust their aim.
“Irrigation onto roads, particularly gravel roads, is not only a waste of water but also has the potential to create safety issues for motorists.
“It is the surprise element and the force of the water that could easily startle a motorist, it is especially dangerous for those on motorcycles.
“Our staff have been receiving an increasing number of calls, especially in our Ashburton office, and our locally based water zone officers will be responding to these on a case-by-case basis,” he said.
Richard said irrigation consent holders are responsible for the use of water that is applied to their properties.
“Resource consent conditions authorise the use of water to a consented piece of land, not to run to waste. While we understand it can be difficult on windy days, it is still a breach of their consent.
“Irrigation system operators must monitor the use of their water and equipment to make sure the water is used in the way that was authorised and not wasted,” Richard said.
Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis said the two main culprits for water going over-boundary were the end guns on pivot irrigators and travelling irrigators set up too close to roads.
“Watering onto roads creates a significant safety hazard, so it’s really important for irrigators to ensure they water within their property boundaries.
“My advice is to ensure end guns are set and operating correctly and regularly checked. When you set up your travelling irrigator always have a set-back distance from the road,” he said.
Farmers should ensure they’re being responsible with their water.
“Aside from the safety issue, people don’t like seeing water being wasted by being sprayed onto roads. Farmers who irrigate do so under strict regulatory regimes so it’s important they justify their use of water by being efficient and responsible with it,” Andrew said.
Anyone experiencing spray on the road that is clearly coming from an irrigation system should contact Environment Canterbury on 0800 324 636. If there is immediate danger to road users they should contact the police.