CIF Project - Optimisation of Irrigation Water Use & Supply Reliability Under Low Risk Investment Infrastructure

Grant No: 09/11

Last updated: 2 August, 2010

Contact details

Name of Applicant Group: Environment Waikato
Contact person: Dr Edmund Brown
Address: PO Box 4010, Hamilton East 3247
Telephone: 07 859 0715

Project details

Status: Finished
CIF funding: $45,000
Total project funding: $155,000
Proposed start date: 2009-07
Proposed finish date: 2010-06
Region: Waikato

Community Irrigation Fund Final Report

Verification of Soil-Moisture Model and Assessment of Water Reliability of Farm Production

Project description

The aim of the project is to ensure irrigation water is used more efficiently and to facilitate new irrigation development in situations of lower water supply reliability by:

  • developing irrigation water demand guidelines, and
  • evaluating the management of irrigation systems and productivity gains.

The issue/opportunity

To date irrigators in the Waikato have largely relied on readily available “run of river” water to enable irrigation. However, with increasing competition, this “run of river” is nearly fully utilised. This inability to access readily available water is expected to be a significant barrier to future investment in irrigation in the Waikato Region.

To reduce this barrier the Waikato Regional Council has the opportunity to provide information:

  • relating to productivity gains and irrigation reliability to support decisions to invest in irrigation, and
  • on the level of water supply augmentation that may be needed to meet acceptable levels of reliability.

The context/background

The Waikato is a key agricultural area of New Zealand. However, competition for water by hydro electricity generators and municipal water supplies has resulted in significantly less water being available for irrigation. Where Council policy prioritises these uses above irrigation there is a need to provide information to remove a knowledge barrier which will otherwise restrict continued investment in irrigation in the region.


Monitor and evaluate irrigation practices of a number of irrigation sites to improve the accuracy of an existing irrigation water demand model.

The model, combined with information about method of irrigation; irrigation management practices and seasonal production will be used to determine the water use productivity and supply reliability for different crops.

Project update: June 2010

Nearly all activities are fully complete. All field measurements have been analysed and reported in a draft report. This is currently being reviewed by Environment Waikato staff. A final report is expected in August.


Last Updated: 22 March 2011

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