Irrigation agreement signed with ORC

Otago Regional Council councillors and staff on Thursday saw how the North Otago Irrigation Company and its farmers are managing efficient use of water and flow-on effects before signing an agreement with North Otago irrigation companies and representatives.

Cropping and dairy support farmer Peter Mitchell with the help of the company’s environmental manager Jodi Leckie, explained how variable rate irrigation and close monitoring of soil needs helped both the farmer and the environment on a Fortification Rd property.

The Memorandum of Agreement is with North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC), the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company (LWIC), and the Waitaki Irrigators’ Collective Ltd and concerns implementation of the council’s Regional Plan: Water for Otago Plan Change 6A.

NOIC and LWIC together irrigate about 32,600ha of Otago farmland and the collective represents the interests of irrigation entities in the lower Waitaki catchment with a total irrigated area of 75,000ha.

The memorandum describes how the parties will work together in setting goals, understanding values and engagement in a catchment management process until 2020, when all thresholds within the plan become applicable.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said that was a significant step towards the achievement of sustainable high quality water standards in North Otago.

NOIC chief executive Robyn Wells said it was all about working collaboratively on implementation of the new rules, and LWIC chairman Chris Dennison said the farming community on the lower Waitaki plains looked forward to working to protect the high standard of water quality in the Waitaki plains aquifers.