Water and Agriculture

Sustainability, Markets and Policies

image of Water and Agriculture

Agriculture is a major user of water and is responsible for much of its pollution. But the agricultural sector faces increasing competition for scarce water supplies from urban and industrial users and, increasingly, to sustain ecosystems.  This conference proceedings explores how both governments and the private sector can expand the role of markets to allocate water used by all sectors and to get agricultural producers to account for the pollution that their sector generates.



New Zealand's Sustainable Water Programme of Action

In 2003, New Zealand commenced a Sustainable Water Programme of Action, under the umbrella of the Sustainable Development Programme of Action. New Zealand’s management of freshwater occurs within the framework of the Resource Management Act 1991, which focuses on the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. Gaps in the Act framework, and its implementation, have become apparent as New Zealand’s freshwater resource comes under pressure from competition between uses, users and the differing values New Zealanders hold for freshwater. These gaps are challenges for the Sustainable Water Programme of Action. There is also concern that diffuse agricultural discharges are inadequately addressed and are having negative impacts on lowland streams and rivers. New approaches may be needed to assist the development of water allocation frameworks that address the pressures. Public consultation on ideas for improving water management occurred between December 2004 and March 2005. A focus for the next stage of the Sustainable Water Programme of Action is to assess new tools, approaches and initiatives to better manage water allocation and quality issues.


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