Russel Norman

Large scale irrigation -> Intensive dairy -> water pollution

by Russel Norman

Yesterday we heard from David Carter that central govt wants to subsidise large scale irrigation projects in Canterbury and elsewhere.  And Morning Report is running with the story of a mega- irrigation project right across Canterbury, details sketchy but ‘exciting’.

The water would be used to spread intensive dairy across huge swathes of Canterbury.

The proponents talk vaguely about about mitigating environmental effects. This is simply greenwash.

Every study of water quality issues in NZ shows that the key driver of water pollution over the last decade has been the spread of intensive dairy. The science is black and white.

If you spread more intensive dairying you will pollute the rivers and aquifers even more than they are already polluted. 90% of the pollution comes from the cows in the field not in the milking shed, so even if they meet the conditions of their dairy shed effluent discharge consent, the intensive stocking rates will still result on massive non-point source pollution. The science around this is quite settled.

Those with dollar signs in their eyes are trying to use a bit of greenwash to cover up the science.

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Russel Norman on Thu, August 5th, 2010   

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