Tuesday, 10 March 2020 11:51

Focus on water’s future

Written by  Nigel Malthus

IrrigationNZ’s biennial conference, coming up in April, aims to “to lead the conversation on the future of water for Aotearoa.”

It says water is essential to people, communities, ecosystems, and cultural wellbeing. 

The Water for Life Conference will be held at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Wigram, Christchurch from April 7-9. 

Themes will include the importance of multi-benefit water infrastructure, the use of technology for enhanced decision-making, the future of farming and water policy developments. There will be a range of speakers, as well as a panel discussion, break-out sessions, a trade exhibition, a gala awards dinner, networking breakfast, and a welcome drinks function. 

The first day features two pre-conference bus tours of various irrigated horticultural ventures across Canterbury.

Speakers will include Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, as well as National’s agriculture spokesman Todd Muller and NZ First’s Mark Paterson. An international perspective will come from Monty Teeter of Teeter Irrigation, Ulysses, Kansas, the inventor of Dragon Line – a mobile drip irrigation system developed to conserve and efficiently use water.

There will also be innovation awards with a cash prize for ‘The Best Innovation, Discovery or Achievement that makes a positive contribution, impact or benefit to irrigation in New Zealand’. 

IrrigationNZ chief executive Elizabeth Soal says her organisation and the sector are confronting a time of many changes.

“We’re meeting these changes during a time of larger nationwide and global change. The movement towards better water quality and higher environmental standards continues to demand we incorporate good practice in all that we do. However, this movement and these standards need to be implemented in practical and achievable ways,” she adds.

“The world of water is an exciting area to work in and is moving at a fast pace. IrrigationNZ will continue to meet and bring together thought leaders to ensure we stay up to date, and are listening to a range of viewpoints, opinions and concerns, and giving our sector an opportunity to learn from and lead others.” 

Soal says the future of water management, governance, allocation, and infrastructure is critical to adapting to climate change and other uncertainties, caused by global and local forces, she said. 

Registrations are still open at www.waterforlife.kiwi 

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