Irrigation on roads - the dos and don'ts

Farmers around Canterbury must ensure their irrigation systems only water within their property boundaries and not the roads where it causes a hazard.

Summer is here and that means irrigation will become more widespread, so it is important to keep on-farm systems in check.

The most common reasons for water going over-boundary are the extra spray from end guns on pivot irrigators, and travelling irrigators getting too close to roads.

On hot, windy days, irrigation water drifts on roads. More careful placement of irrigators is needed for Norwest conditions.

These problems can be easily solved by checking that end guns are set and operating correctly and setting back travelling irrigators an adequate distance from the road.

Consent holders are responsible

Regional leader for compliance delivery James Tricker said it is the consent holders who are responsible for the use of water that is applied to their properties.

“Irrigators must ensure their water allocations are used diligently and not wasted. Water going onto roads – particularly gravel roads – is not only a waste but also has the potential to create safety issues for motorists.

“It is the surprise element and the force of the water that could easily startle a motorist and is especially dangerous for motorbikes,” James said.

Consent holders should ensure end guns are set and operating correctly and regularly checked. When setting up travelling irrigators, always have a set-back distance from the road.

“We understand it can be difficult on very windy days but areas such as state highways and rural roads are not consented or authorised to be irrigated.

“Resource consent conditions authorise the use of water to a consented piece of land, not to run to waste,” James said.

Find out if there are irrigation restrictions in your area.

Experiencing spray onto roads – contact us

Anyone experiencing spray on the road that is clearly coming from an irrigation system should contact Environment Canterbury on 0800 324 636. If there is an immediate danger to road users, they should contact the police.