Hot summer sharpens focus on efficient water use

By the time you read this, IrrigationNZ will have launched its SMART Watering campaign in conjunction with seven partners.

This summer will be a critical time for water use. We know how dry it gets in Canterbury. And this year it is set to be worse than usual. NIWA is predicting low seasonal rainfall in Canterbury and Otago and media reports about the severity of El Nino are rife.

Concerns are mounting about water restrictions and what this means for farmers, businesses and those at home who want to enjoy green grass, sprinklers and swimming pools over the summer break.

Aware of these concerns, IrrigationNZ has teamed up with Ashburton, Timaru, Selwyn and Waimakariri District Councils, Environment Canterbury and industry partners RX Plastics and Water Supply Products; to use SMART Watering as a way to share information and education about how to make water go further this season.

Home gardeners, community groups and businesses will be able to access simple fact sheets and guidelines on easy ways for efficient water use. New SMART Watering webpages have been added to the current SMART Irrigation website to widely communicate good water management practice. There is also a new Facebook page aimed at urban gardeners; and another one targeted at irrigating farmers.

It is a way to help everyone get through what is likely to be another ‘Big Dry’.

Key messages include knowing how much your garden needs, ensuring any moisture is retained, and distributing water in the garden effectively. Also, simple things like what you plant, how it’s shaded and the mulch you use can all make a big difference to water use and evaporation.

IrrigationNZ began educating farmers on water efficiency with its SMART Irrigation programme last April. The roll-out of the campaign to all water users means home owners can also implement tried and tested methods, practices and products that are helpful for water conservation.

Together, everyone can do their bit to make the best of every drop.

SMART Irrigation and SMART Watering rely on the same principles – checking that your system can apply water efficiently, that your use of water is justified and that you monitor and measure as you go.

SMART Irrigation stands for sustainably managed, accountable, responsible and trusted irrigation. SMART Watering relies on the same approach. It isn’t difficult and it will save you time and money.

The east coast of the South Island is already classed in drought and the Government is advocating the importance of planning and preparing for very dry El Nino conditions highlighting the seriousness of the situation and making this a very timely campaign. The SMART Watering campaign is about all communities coming together to make an effort to make the best of our precious natural resource.

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