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NIWA Launches Canterbury Plains Water Study

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
NIWA Launches Canterbury Plains Water Study

Wellington, July 22 NZPA - The National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (Niwa) will spend more than $2 million over the next three years looking at fixing Canterbury's water woes.

The programme has been developed along with the regional council, Environment Canterbury (Ecan), and will involve other researchers such as Lincoln Ventures, Aqualinc Research and ESR, it was announced today.

Canterbury's water resources are increasingly under pressure. There are about 550,000 hectares of land in the Canterbury region consented for irrigation development -- 70 percent of all the irrigated land in New Zealand.

The Niwa project would "link research on climate, hydrology, and river species biology to provide tangible advice on future water resource management for the Canterbury Plains region", the crown research institute said.

It would also help resolve some of the conflict between competing demands for water in the region.

The main aim of the new Climate and Water Resources Flagship programme was to better define the relationships between weather, climate and water resources to improve regional water management for the Canterbury Plains area, said Niwa general manager of strategy, Bryce Cooper.

"Niwa has a bunch of skills that cover the climate, weather, hydrology, and biology. We're putting that together in a way that's useful for the regional council and the country."

Information was likely to be used in other east coast alluvial regions, he said.

Ecan chief executive Bryan Jenkins welcomed the new programme.

"Getting good, useable information is vital if we are to make the right decisions about any future use of precious water resources in our region."

There will be four Niwa projects in the three-year programme concentrating on weather and climate predictions, linking climate and water resources, ecological effects and prediction-based adaptive management.


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