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22 July 2002
A two-day conference looking at water allocation and its efficient use is being held in Wellington this week.
The conference is being jointly organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Ministry for the Environment.
It will bring together views of regional councils, industry, scientists and stakeholders to discuss technical aspects of water use and allocation in New Zealand.
MAF Director General, Murray Sherwin says good water allocation policies are critical to the agricultural sector and the country.
"Seventy-seven percent of water allocated by regional councils in New Zealand is used by agriculture, mostly in irrigation," Mr Sherwin says.
"Irrigation has changed land uses and become integral to community development in some areas. Therefore there is an inevitable close public scrutiny of how we allocate water and how effectively we use it."
Among topics at this conference will be issues of strategic water use, large scale irrigation developments, the economics of efficient water use and the importance of instream values.
Mr Sherwin says that while water quality issues due to intensification of agriculture are concerning, this conference will focus more on technical issues of water allocation and where technical information is leading us.
He says the important issue of water quality will be more adequately and thoroughly addressed at a similar conference within a year.
The conference is being held at National Library Lecture Theatre, Molesworth St, Wellington, 23-24 July.
For more information contact MAF Corporate Communications Director, Brett Sangster, Tel. 04-498-9882 or 027-247-8777.