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IrrigationNZ Champions Water Meter Installation And Verification Industry Accreditation Program

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
IrrigationNZ Champions Water Meter Installation And Verification Industry Accreditation Program

Service providers are urged to 'get accredited' as part of implementation of the national regulation for water measuring and reporting. Irrigation NZ strongly supports the national regulation requiring water takes to be measured as part of a wider programme to improve fresh water management. Accurate water measurement is consistent with the future direction of the irrigation industry. In order to move forward and optimise water management in New Zealand water measuring is an essential part of the equation. As from November 10th, 2010, new national regulation requires the majority of permit holders to measure and report their irrigation water use. You can't manage water if you don't measure it, says IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis.

Irrigation NZ has proactively led the water measurement taskforce since its inception. The national body representing irrigation interests nationwide is now championing the introduction of a 'National Water Measurement and Reporting - Industry Accreditation Programme.'

The industry accreditation programme has been designed to give irrigators certainty that they will comply with the Water Measurement and Reporting Regulations 2010. It provides guidelines, training and an accredited status for quality service providers. Outputs from the programme provide irrigators with a register of accredited installers, accredited verifiers, and accredited data hosting services. The application form, assessment criteria and the industry guidelines can be found on the IrrigationNZ website under 'Water Measurement'. All companies that wish to become accredited service providers must send a completed application form to watermeasurement@irrigationnz.co.nz by midnight April 21, 2011. Service providers already approved through the Hawke's Bay and Canterbury programmes will automatically transfer to the national programme but now be subject to performance evaluations. "IrrigationNZ strongly urges all service companies to engage in this industry programme. All regional council's and unitary authorities have indicated they will adopt the programme to reduce regulatory compliance requirements and thus reduce the cost to irrigators and industry."

Measure for better management

New Zealand is at, or rapidly approaching water allocation limits in many regions. The science that councils use to set these limits is plagued with assumptions, one of these relates to actual water use. Currently a variety of methods are used to convert the allocated volumes on resource consents into 'guesstimates' of actual use. To improve on the status quo, and more importantly enable greater certainty (reduce risk) in the setting of allocation limits, It is necessary to provide accurate water use data to better inform the decision making process.

Much of the allocated water in New Zealand is underutilised, tied up on paper (resource consents). This is currently preventing full realisation of the potential of the country's greatest asset - the water resource. In reality 100% use of the allocated water in New Zealand is not possible given the variable rainfall inputs - wet and dry years. Irrigators don't pump water unless they have to because it costs!

Despite this, there is potential to increase allocation efficiency by 10-15%. This would have significant positive impacts on both regional and the national economy. Water measurement provides the framework to allow this transfer of water to easily occur.

"Irrigators and service providers need to get smart and move forward with this opportunity," Curtis concluded.

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