Media release

Farmer led project highlights innovative environmental work

November 24, 2017

A North Canterbury river awarded as the country’s most improved- is testament to innovative environmental work undertaken by farmers and their community says Federated Farmers.

The Hurunui district’s Pahau River was bestowed supreme winner at last night’s 2017 National River Awards, achieving significant reduction in bacteria E coli levels over the past 10 years.

The river reportedly runs through one of the most densely irrigated catchments in the country. It had also demonstrated decreasing levels in nitrogen and phosphorous.

Chris Allen, Federated Farmers Water Spokesperson, says the catchment approach taken to improve the river was obviously a factor. While the pursuit of innovative farm management practices was pivotal.

"Irrigation is becoming more sophisticated. It has so many attributes for on-farm. Farmers are increasing productivity and at the same time, able to improve and manage water quality.

"Not for the first time we learn of another successful initiative where farmers are working with their community to address river issues.

"Having a targeted approach, catchment by catchment is returning great results. It’s been proven to deliver sensible, practical and affordable solutions for the community and its farmers.

"Catchment groups like the Pahau Enhancement Group led by dairy farmer David Croft are the template for managing our freshwater in the future, and making sure those actions are sustainable and fit for purpose," says Chris.

Federated Farmers salutes all the winners of the National River Awards and those farmer led projects, which are achieving improved water quality alongside economic growth.