Irrigating top tips for the upcoming summer season

Summer is just about here and that means irrigation will become more widespread across North Canterbury. Irrigation can support better growth in paddocks, providing more feed for animals and better conditions for growing crops.

Water is a precious resource in the Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau areas – particularly in dry periods like summer.

Waimakariri and Hurunui Waiau Zone Delivery lead Marco Cataloni says people are strongly encouraged to irrigate efficiently and consider their overall water use.

Over 500,000 ha of land is irrigated in Canterbury. 

Cataloni says one key factor people should consider when choosing their irrigation system, is its efficiency.

“You should look for one which will maximise the amount of pasture grown while using as little water possible.

“Well managed irrigation systems protect water quality and quantity, save on pumping costs and protect soil structure, ultimately retaining valuable nutrients.”

Irrigation on the road and considering the weather

One key consideration for those irrigating is making sure it stays off the road.

“It’s vital irrigation systems only water within people’s property boundaries and not on the roads where it causes a hazard,” Cataloni says.

“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,” he added.

On hot, windy days, irrigation water drifts on roads, where it can contribute to road deterioration and make the hot tar slippery.

“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,” Cataloni says.

Anyone who notices irrigation spray on the road should contact us. If there is an immediate danger to road users, they should contact the police.

Careful placement of irrigators is also needed during Norwest conditions, to ensure irrigators aren’t knocked over.

Irrigation restrictions

Cataloni says it’s important anyone carrying out irrigation ensures they keep up-to-date with the latest restrictions.

“These relate to specific areas, which may relate to the consent you hold. Restrictions are put in place to help reserve water when stock is low,” he says.

Rural landowners can find information about irrigation restrictions by calling us on 0800 324 636 or on the Irrigation Restriction webpage, which is updated daily with irrigation restrictions.

Information for lifestyle block owners

Lifestyle block owners can find details on taking water for domestic and stock water purposes in the Domestic and stock water taking and use - User guide (PDF File, 178.59KB).

You may also be able to take a permitted volume of water for other purposes depending on the location of your property and other factors.

Environment Canterbury can help determine how much water you can take and whether there are any other considerations to take into account.

Find out more