News and Views

‘Status quo’ for water management no longer tenable

water management

IrrigationNZ is heartened by the release of the Te Waihanga (Infrastructure Commission) state-of-play report #3 on water released, and agrees with many insights.

“The report acknowledges that the status quo of water management is unlikely to be sustainable – and we 100% agree,” says IrrigationNZ chief executive Vanessa Winning.

“We are pleased the report highlights the need for a holistic and long-term strategic view of water to ensure optimal, sustainable and inclusive outcomes. This is long overdue and something we have advocated for.

“It signals that there is appetite for change in water management that can provide a range of social, environmental and economic benefits – but this cannot be done piecemeal at a regional level – the strategy must be driven from the top.

“We see positive change with the Three Waters Review and the focus on freshwater quality, and signals that we are moving toward resolution on Māori rights and interests in water. This is all good stuff – but, as part of this, we do also need the value of water for productive use to be part of the solution in strategic water management, rather than being identified as a problem. Irrigation – properly installed and used – is a tool for supporting communities, aiding catchment health, enabling land-uses for high value primary production, and providing access to underdeveloped land for those previously locked out.

“Well planned and executed water storage schemes can provide a range of benefits which will help us work toward a more sustainable, inclusive and productive economy.

“We agree water is an essential resource which deserves long-term planning and expertise to ensure its benefits. We look forward to seeing how the Te Waihanga report leads to action,” concludes Ms Winning.

Source: Irrigation NZ

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