A Waitangi Tribunal report and recommendations on water ownership have put Māori rights and interests in freshwater firmly back in the public spotlight, just as the Government releases a raft of policy changes.
“IrrigationNZ has recently adopted a new strategy which focuses on creating an environment for the responsible use of water for food production,” says Nicky Hyslop, IrrigationNZ board chair.
“As part of the strategy, we will be focusing on advocacy, encouraging innovation through sharing ideas and adopting new technology, developing a robust information base, bringing the irrigation sector, researchers and decision-makers together to make better decisions for our future and creating world‑leading irrigation standards.”
Soal has a strong background in water management, law and policy. IrrigationNZ says she will help contribute to all of these goals and she is well qualified to contribute to national discussions and achieve solutions to complex issues around water allocation.
She has worked as the director of strategy and policy at Waitaki Irrigators Collective for the past eight years. She also served on IrrigationNZ’s board from 2011 to 2016, and until recently she sat on the Technical Committee of the International Alliance for Water Stewardship, based in Edinburgh.
“I am looking forward to leading the implementation of IrrigationNZ’s new strategy which I think will take the industry in a really positive direction. Managing our freshwater effectively whilst reducing our environmental footprint is critical for the wellbeing of our communities and for New Zealand as a whole,” says Soal.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to participate in national-level discussions about these important issues.”
She will take up her new role in late February, with current chief executive Andrew Curtis leaving his position to start new ventures in late January.