Lack of action will cost Timaru district water consent-holde

Press Release – Enviroment Canterbury

Timaru district farmers face cost blowouts if they delay the installation of water measuring systems, which are required by the government’s National Regulations. MEDIA RELEASE
24 November, 2011

Lack of action will cost Timaru district water consent-holders

Timaru district farmers face cost blowouts if they delay the installation of water measuring systems, which are required by the government’s National Regulations.

In just under one year (10 November 2012) water consent holders with takes of more than 20 litres per second need to have installed a water measuring and reporting system. This is subject to their consent not already requiring them to install a metering system.

In the Orari-Opihi-Pareora Water Management Zone there are 1046 water takes that require a water measuring device.

John Young, Environment Canterbury’s Team Leader Water Metering, said consent holders must comply with the Government’s regulations and need to act soon to avoid the expected rush for equipment and installations.

“One of the most urgent issues facing water consent holders is the installation of water measuring devices and the reporting of actual water usage. The government’s National Regulations are here to stay and there will be consequences for those who do not comply by the deadline in November next year.

“To date, only around 37 per cent of the required installations for surface water takes have been carried out, and 39 per cent for ground water in the Orari-Opihi-Pareora Zone.

“There are obvious cost advantages to getting organised and installing water measuring devices sooner, rather than later. If there is a last-minute rush this could result in a shortage of equipment and labour and require installers to contract out services and these costs could be passed on to farmers,” he said.

Environment Canterbury has a dedicated water metering team based in Ashburton that works closely with industry and the community to provide the necessary advice and guidance to make installing a measuring system as easy as possible.

In New Zealand there are around 12,000 consents that require water measuring devices to be installed. Approximately 42 per cent of these are in Canterbury – the highest regional proportion in New Zealand.

A PDF map of the Orari-Opihi-Pareora zone showing water takes of 20 l/s and more with and without measuring devices is available at: (water metering installation progress).

A brief case study

Temuka farmer Alvin Reid has interests in six farms with multiple water takes and consents. This makes it a complex task to ensure water is used and managed efficiently, and within consented limits.

Alvin says an efficient irrigation system is vital to any dairy operation.

“The water take system on our Acerna Pastures farms is particularly complicated with water coming either from groundwater abstraction or from an irrigation scheme originating from the Opuha Dam.

“Some consents have different conditions attached to them including daily and weekly volume restrictions making it difficult to manage the water-take at each pump and irrigator.

“Some individual water-take consents are also affected by what is taken at other sources and the permitted volume of take can alter as river levels change.

“This meant we had to manually check meters at each pump and monitor how often irrigators could run and at what level. We thought there must be an easier, more efficient and reliable way.

“The automated water measuring systems have revolutionised the way we do business. It would be very difficult to manage resources across this many farms without the precision, accuracy and ease offered by the measuring devices.

“The telemetry devices we have since added means our farm managers can check water use and modify application rates from the office. This removes the need for time-consuming trips to check manual devices and reduces the chances of breaching our consent conditions.”

The National Regulations for water measurement

The National Regulations apply to all water consent holders with takes of five litres per second or more. Consents granted after November 10, 2010 are required to comply with the National Regulations immediately and consent holders must install a water measuring device providing continuous measurements, take daily readings, as well as provide annual records to their regional council.

Medium-sized consent holders (from 10 up to 20 litres per second) must comply by November 2014 and small consent holders (between 5 and 10 litres per second) have until November 2016.

Individual consent conditions can be viewed online at:

If consent holders do not have a copy of their consent or do not know their consent number they should call Customer Services on 03 353-9007 or 0800 324-636.

More information about water measuring services, approved installation companies and the implementation of the National Regulations can be found at:

The deadlines for installing water measuring systems are:
Date Take size

10 November 2012 20 litres/second or more

10 November 2014 Between 10 and 20 litres/second

10 November 2016 Between 5 and 10 litres/second

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