Waitaki Herald : September 17th 2014
24 WAITAKI HERALD, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 ADVERTISING FEATURE 6298107AA National’s freshwater fund may spur on-farm wetlands H aving worked with DairyNZ to analyse the $100 million freshwater fund policy recently announced by the National Party, Federated Farmers believes it could vastly improve water quality outcomes. ‘‘The fund to retire farmland would be perhaps better interpreted as a policy to create on-farm wetlands,’’ Federated Farmers environment spokesman Ian Mackenzie says. ‘‘After talking with the team at DairyNZ we’ve arrived at a very different conclusion to that other groups have come up with. ‘‘Instead of looking at this as a linear purchase of land, or trying to recreate MAF’s old farm advisory division, think more along the lines of NIWA’s guidelines for constructed wetlands. ‘‘A fund of $10 million a year Gain not loss: Federated Farmers environment spokesman Ian MacKenzie. could purchase at least 286 hectares. Using NIWA guidelines and if turned into strategically located wetlands, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers believe it could remove 60-70 per cent of nitrogen from around 9500 hectares of farmland. ‘‘We can easily take people through the calculations but if applied to suitable sensitive catchments then you are potentially looking at a major gain for a relatively modest loss of Photo: SUPPLIED farmland. We are not pretending this is a silver bullet, or is applicable to every part of New Zealand, but it does highlight how creative solutions are possible. ‘‘There is also a mechanism to provide a legal home for any wetlands created; QEII National Trust covenants. Meanwhile, the Landcare Trust can bring together all parties in constructing and managing wetland buffer zones.’’ It is notable that Federated Farmers played a leading role in forming both trusts, he says. ‘‘Since this policy is still in formulation, the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust in co-operation with the Landcare Trust, may be good bodies to administer the fund. They are already there, they are excellent at what they do and both have regional advisers in place working with councils and landowners. ‘‘Who better than the QEII National Trust supported by the Landcare Trust,’’ Mackenzie says. See fedfarm.org.nz ‘Water-proof’ your property for emergencies Whether you live in the town or the country, it is always a good plan to have more than one water source close to home in case of an emergency. This could be anything from a breakdown at the pumping station meaning restricted or no water for a day or so, or a full-on natural disaster such as flooding polluting water supplies or even an unlikely but possible event in these shaky isles, an earthquake disrupting everything for a longer period. On rural properties, there is generally a tank somewhere catching water from a shed or outbuilding so it is a good idea to make sure this is kept in reasonable order, and checked regularly to make sure that adventurous possums or starlings have not fallen in, polluting your water supply. Large, intensive farming ventures should also make sure that if their water supply fails they have a contingency scheme ready to put into place, particularly to ensure livestock is supplied with drinking water. Even in an urban environment, Emergency supply: Have a back-up water supply that can be used during emergencies. there is often an opportunity to put up a small tank to collect water from a veranda or garage. Once again, ensure the supply is kept clean and remember this water can be used for the garden too – a great help if there is a dry summer with hosing restrictions in place. It really does cost very little to ‘water-proof’ your home and, should the worst happen and suddenly you are left with nothing coming out of the taps, you can be sure of at least have enough water located not too far away to supply your basic needs.
September 10th 2014
September 24th 2014