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Push on for irrigation design companies to become accredited

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

IrrigationNZ says farmers need to put pressure on irrigation design companies to become accredited as it’s the only way they can be assured future on-farm irrigation developments will meet stringent environmental requirements and high-performance targets.

The industry body for irrigators is pushing the accreditation message this summer under its SMART Irrigation banner to encourage more irrigation companies to attain industry standards. Waterforce recently passed the accreditation threshold joining Rainers Irrigation; the first New Zealand company to achieve accreditation status two years ago. Several other irrigation companies are actively working through the accreditation process but the wider industry has been slow to follow this trend, says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

"We’ve worked hard with irrigating farmers to get them on-board the SMART Irrigation programme to ensure efficient and sustainable irrigation; now we need to do the same with our irrigation service and supply industry. Striving to meet accreditation requirements shows the rest of the community that they are delivering irrigation designs that translate into high-performing and responsible irrigation practice. The two go hand-in-hand and we need our service industry to step up and embrace the opportunities accreditation offers them," says Mr Curtis.

For farmers looking to develop new irrigation infrastructure, it makes sense to work with a company that is ‘Irrigation Design Accredited’ as it provides assurance that they will get a fit-for-purpose system that is consistent with IrrigationNZ’s Design Code of Practice and Standards.

"What we say to farmers is ‘do it once and do it right’. If you use an accredited design company to design or upgrade your irrigation or effluent system, you have the confidence of knowing the system you end up with will meet regulatory and community expectations. Given the significant investment involved in developing a new system or improving an existing one, we strongly encourage that you work with an irrigation design company that is either accredited or going through the process to become accredited. These companies have been assessed as meeting industry expectations so you know you’re getting a quality product and service."

Companies providing irrigation and farm dairy effluent designs gain and keep accredited status by being assessed and then regularly audited by an independent panel on their design skills and workplace systems. Accreditation is held by the companies, not the individuals, as the company is accountable for the service being provided. Accredited companies are also subject to a complaints process by both clients and regulators which provides an extra level of accountability, says Mr Curtis.

A list of accredited companies is published on the IrrigationNZ Accreditation website

More information about the Irrigation and Farm Dairy Effluent System Design Accreditation Programme can be sought from IrrigationNZ Project Manager Steve Breneger on phone (03) 341 2225.

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