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Irrigation is for grass – not the road!

With irrigation season now underway, Environment Canterbury is reminding all irrigators to ensure their water goes on the grass and not the road.

Environment Canterbury regional leader for compliance delivery James Tricker 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,” Mr Tricker said. “We understand it can be difficult on very windy days but hardstand areas such as state highways and rural roads are not consented or authorised to be irrigated.”

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 by their resource consent.

“All irrigators should ensure that their water allocations are used diligently and not wasted, especially in a dry season. We will continue to monitor unauthorised use of water utilising our new locally based water zone officers and deal with it on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

“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” Mr Tricker said.

Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis agreed and added that two of the 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.

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.

Environment Canterbury will shortly be in touch with farmers holding water consents, ensuring they are familiar with their responsibilities as a water consent holder.

Source: Environment Canterbury

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