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Thread: selwyn river

  1. #1
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    selwyn river

    20/20 tonight should give some insight in how they stole a river and used it as a template to do it elsewhere.
    the thing the irrigators cant deny is its a tax payer funded excersize in doubling their land values.
    yes they have some cost most of which is tax deductible until almost full recovery.

  2. #2
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    Don't believe everything the media tells you.

    Three winters of below average rainfall means very low groundwater levels in central Canterbury.
    If there is no significant recharge then the springs that feed the rivers won't flow either.
    Irrigators near the Selwyn can't take water when there is low or no flow.

    The Selwyn has been dry before and will be dry again. It is the natural cycle.

  3. #3
    Member Ryan_Songhurst's Avatar
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    Can I ask how you come to the conclusion that an irrigation scheme is a tax payer funded exercise? Also the average farmer has a little more than "some cost" and carry a huge amount of debt due to irrigation, the water isn't free either...
    Dundee, Rich007, mikee and 3 others like this.

  4. #4
    270 King of the Calibres oraki's Avatar
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    I'll wade in here as well.
    I was talking to a manager in the water monitoring/irrigation game a while back. He said yes wells are drying up, rivers going dry....
    He said one of the major contributing factors to this is the earthquake. There are wells at there lowest level in recent years, but there are also wells that historically used to dry up over summer, now at higher than recorded levels. He said they've put it down to the huge shift in aquifers. Some underground streams have changed course when the fault went through, tectonic plates have risen or dropped.
    I can remember the river next to me drying up and there being fish rescue missions on all the time during summer.
    All the pivots/laterals that have been built in recent times are very visual, and appear to be using huge amounts of water. Previously flood irrigation was the only method to be used. It used to saturate the soil beyond its water holding capacity,thus allowing any nutrients to 'go down the plug' into the subsoil, and underground aquifers. This is showing now with modern testing.
    As bad as this was, the water kept flowing down towards the sea, and the next person down got another shot at using the water, and so it went on. Just down the road from here, the ground used to be summer swamp, and winter dry.
    The shingle pits on the side of the main road, one at Hinds and another just north of Timaru used to be full of water in the summer, and dry in winter.
    Now the irrigation is monitored, water use metered, and gone through with a fine toothed comb. Any water use outside of consent is noncompliance, and puts your water right in jeopardy.
    These big watering machines are only applying what the soil can hold, to keep the plants growing at their optimum. The majority have moisture probes at different depths, and they only apply what is needed. Back 10 year ago there were no meters, so you could pump as much as you or the well allowed.
    Add in the fact that the climate is warming with more westerly winds, and the eastern side of the alps hasn't had a decent recharge for a number of years. The glaciers are retreating,and not getting a decent snowfall in winter, so not getting any recharge there either.....

  5. #5
    Caretaker jakewire's Avatar
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    Yeah I'm watching it well they are onto lake Forsyth now.
    It's not so much the dry cycle but the fact the river down stream is basically dead, nitrogen and E coli levels so high it cannot be swum in let alone drunk.
    Sad, bad.
    BRADS and oraki like this.
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  6. #6
    Member stug's Avatar
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    Seems strange that they know that the water levels in the aquifers are low but they aren't restricting water take. There was an article in one of the papers in the last few months where they had identified farmers taking more water than allowed, but no one was fined, just given warnings.

  7. #7
    Member outdoorlad's Avatar
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    I believe a lot of consent holders aren't metered, it's coming but there has been push back.
    Shut up, get out & start pushing!

  8. #8
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    Just watched a replay on Ch6 of the Sunday program.
    Both situations look pretty bad.
    Oraki's comments seem plausible - living in the 'Rapa this summer - started off on water rationing, then it's been raining with stunning regularity.
    Usually we're just getting over the summer dry.
    Selwyn & Lake Forsyth situations are a result of a number of things, over usage by farmers among them.

  9. #9
    270 King of the Calibres oraki's Avatar
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    I was just adding the other side of the story. There's evidence that to much water is bring used. But put it in context,if you were able to drive at 120 km/hr with no consequences, even though you knew it might not be for the best, would you.
    I looked at getting a effluent tanker to add to my direct drilling around 97-98. I'd just come back from Aussie,and had talked to a contractor over there. He said he couldn't keep up with demand. I'd almost signed up for it, when I heard a couple of locals had been granted another 15yrs consent to wash the cowshed waste into the drain.
    Look at any old original dairys, and they're located next to a stream. A, for water. B,for waste
    The councils are responsible for a lot of this mess we've got now.

    As for those without meters, the 'grace' period is over I hope. Get caught without one shortly, and I'm hoping that's your right gone.
    There's been thousands of kms of waterway fencing done, wetlands restored, plantings etc.
    The family farmer is trying to improve the ground, to leave it in better condition than when found
    gadgetman, Rich007 and WallyR like this.

  10. #10
    Member gadgetman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oraki View Post
    I'll wade in here as well.
    I was talking to a manager in the water monitoring/irrigation game a while back. He said yes wells are drying up, rivers going dry....
    He said one of the major contributing factors to this is the earthquake. There are wells at there lowest level in recent years, but there are also wells that historically used to dry up over summer, now at higher than recorded levels. He said they've put it down to the huge shift in aquifers. Some underground streams have changed course when the fault went through, tectonic plates have risen or dropped.
    I can remember the river next to me drying up and there being fish rescue missions on all the time during summer.
    All the pivots/laterals that have been built in recent times are very visual, and appear to be using huge amounts of water. Previously flood irrigation was the only method to be used. It used to saturate the soil beyond its water holding capacity,thus allowing any nutrients to 'go down the plug' into the subsoil, and underground aquifers. This is showing now with modern testing.
    As bad as this was, the water kept flowing down towards the sea, and the next person down got another shot at using the water, and so it went on. Just down the road from here, the ground used to be summer swamp, and winter dry.
    The shingle pits on the side of the main road, one at Hinds and another just north of Timaru used to be full of water in the summer, and dry in winter.
    Now the irrigation is monitored, water use metered, and gone through with a fine toothed comb. Any water use outside of consent is noncompliance, and puts your water right in jeopardy.
    These big watering machines are only applying what the soil can hold, to keep the plants growing at their optimum. The majority have moisture probes at different depths, and they only apply what is needed. Back 10 year ago there were no meters, so you could pump as much as you or the well allowed.
    Add in the fact that the climate is warming with more westerly winds, and the eastern side of the alps hasn't had a decent recharge for a number of years. The glaciers are retreating,and not getting a decent snowfall in winter, so not getting any recharge there either.....
    They have got more efficient with irrigation, but I think that greater areas irrigated so overall use probably hasn't dropped.

    I also suspect that the earthquakes have caused issues. Round the road they were 'drilling' new wells for the city before the quakes. They had stopped drilling and done the flow testing. After the quakes the wells were dry so had to be 'drilled' further. Again they did flow testing and started capping everything off, then a few months later they were back 'drilling' down again in earnest. They finally seem to have stopped over 6 years later.

    Maybe @Tussoch (who seems to have had a name change before disappearing) could have shed some light. Have the quakes disrupted the bottom of the aquifer pans?
    oraki likes this.
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  11. #11
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    Lake Forsyth has nothing to do with groundwater abstraction. It has a small catchment, we have been having dryer seasons that normal and the lack of rainfal creates less water to outflow. The sea has blocked off the entrance even after major work to create channels.

    Recently I had the opportunity to listen to one of the locals at Birdlings flat, a rabid environmentist who was very frank when he said that modern farming had contributed little or nothing to the issues that that lake faces. The damage as pointed out in the program is a legacy of bush/forest clearance by the first farmers, little fertilizer has been applied to that catchment and it has only sustained low stocking rates. Its poor country. The sediment levels in that lake, the nutrient from that sediment, in combination with low incoming freshwater and stagnant water from blocked entrances create a warm stagnant lake.

    Whether understood or not... what is happening there is a natural process. It may not be attractive or desireable and we may be able to mitigate it but lets not confuse the issues.

    Secondally the Selwyn... small facts are inconveniant for the Mike Joys of this world. While he just loves to make everything a famer nutrient problem, he must be really pissed off that he couldn't do that even trying so desperately from small stagnant pools all the way down the river. Even if he could have done it... that sort of sampling doesn't mean anything because even the morons of this world might be able to work out that reduced flows mean higher concentrations of all sorts of things.

    Yet he keeps whining on without differentiating between what are essentially two seperate issues.. nutrient managment/runoff and low water flows. They are not the same thing. It was pretty fricken obvious that the stated assumption that canterbury is the worst place to have dairy cows, couldn't even actually be substantiated with water sampling from a dried up river. Thats just embarrassing and it must have rotted his socks but it didn't stop him from being a dick on camera.

    So lets think about the low water flows.... I don't have a fricken clue about how much groundwater abstraction for irrigation has caused the Selwyn river issue. And neither do they. It is very possible that it is contributing very little to the Selwyn issue and certainly Mike Joy hasn't got a fricken clue. You might think that that maybe the right people to talk to about low water levels in the Selwyn might be hydrologists or groundwater experts..... but no instead we have to get an anti farming zealot who is more interested in his crusade than in the logical argument to back it up. He should be embarressed about what that looked like.
    gadgetman and Cyclops like this.

  12. #12
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    +1 The problem is that there will be a lot of people from the likes of central Auckland who want to believe the argument as presented rather that critically evaluate it. I couldn't believe it when they took samples from those puddles in an effort to prove their point.

    It interested me that no mention was made of 'urban pollution' such as sewerage and storm water and their effects on water quality. Here in the Manawatu we have made some really good improvements in water quality over the last 5-10 years, but it has taken a combined approach from both rural and urban - urban and semi rural have spent money upgrading their sewerage systems (still quite a few to go though) and pretty much all dairy farmers now have their waterways fenced and have bridged stock crossings. A lot of money has also been spent upgrading effluent systems in order to be able to store effluent when the ground is wet and then apply it at low levels so that the grass etc can capture the nutrients and use them for growth.

    I would really love to have a proper objective look at the issue without emotion and ulterior motives getting in the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidney View Post
    Lake Forsyth has nothing to do with groundwater abstraction. It has a small catchment, we have been having dryer seasons that normal and the lack of rainfal creates less water to outflow. The sea has blocked off the entrance even after major work to create channels.

    Recently I had the opportunity to listen to one of the locals at Birdlings flat, a rabid environmentist who was very frank when he said that modern farming had contributed little or nothing to the issues that that lake faces. The damage as pointed out in the program is a legacy of bush/forest clearance by the first farmers, little fertilizer has been applied to that catchment and it has only sustained low stocking rates. Its poor country. The sediment levels in that lake, the nutrient from that sediment, in combination with low incoming freshwater and stagnant water from blocked entrances create a warm stagnant lake.

    Whether understood or not... what is happening there is a natural process. It may not be attractive or desireable and we may be able to mitigate it but lets not confuse the issues.

    Secondally the Selwyn... small facts are inconveniant for the Mike Joys of this world. While he just loves to make everything a famer nutrient problem, he must be really pissed off that he couldn't do that even trying so desperately from small stagnant pools all the way down the river. Even if he could have done it... that sort of sampling doesn't mean anything because even the morons of this world might be able to work out that reduced flows mean higher concentrations of all sorts of things.

    Yet he keeps whining on without differentiating between what are essentially two seperate issues.. nutrient managment/runoff and low water flows. They are not the same thing. It was pretty fricken obvious that the stated assumption that canterbury is the worst place to have dairy cows, couldn't even actually be substantiated with water sampling from a dried up river. Thats just embarrassing and it must have rotted his socks but it didn't stop him from being a dick on camera.

    So lets think about the low water flows.... I don't have a fricken clue about how much groundwater abstraction for irrigation has caused the Selwyn river issue. And neither do they. It is very possible that it is contributing very little to the Selwyn issue and certainly Mike Joy hasn't got a fricken clue. You might think that that maybe the right people to talk to about low water levels in the Selwyn might be hydrologists or groundwater experts..... but no instead we have to get an anti farming zealot who is more interested in his crusade than in the logical argument to back it up. He should be embarressed about what that looked like.
    If my work annoys me, I cull them

  13. #13
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    Secondally the Selwyn... small facts are inconveniant for the Mike Joys of this world. While he just loves to make everything a famer nutrient problem, he must be really pissed off that he couldn't do that even trying so desperately from small stagnant pools all the way down the river. Even if he could have done it... that sort of sampling doesn't mean anything because even the morons of this world might be able to work out that reduced flows mean higher concentrations of all sorts of things.
    ]
    did you not see the bits about the Selwyn huts siddney or coes ford??
    Three winters of below average rainfall means very low groundwater levels in central Canterbury.
    If there is no significant recharge then the springs that feed the rivers won't flow either.
    Irrigators near the Selwyn can't take water when there is low or no flow.
    exactly even the farmers rep said they were taking water from a depleted resourse as they aren't in the river suck off schemes they rely on underground aquifers.
    Can I ask how you come to the conclusion that an irrigation scheme is a tax payer funded exercise? Also the average farmer has a little more than "some cost" and carry a huge amount of debt due to irrigation, the water isn't free either...
    ah via the 400 million set aside for irrigation against 100 million for cleaning up all the waterways??
    really ryan??
    compensated in some measure by depreciation tax claims land improvement tax rebates and a doubling of land values and I'm told the right to sell the water rights on even if you don't use them on your land

    as far as mike joy goes yes he does come across a bit over the top but there is president for his areas that hoofed animals should not roam in huge numbers.
    on the rivers there beds and large tracts of eroded high country or low country like tekapo
    ask doc it was there excuse for wasting hundreds of thousands of animals.
    concentration of hundreds of shitting and pissing cows[per farm even thousands] on small confined paddocks cant be that different.
    jesus all you can smell from leeston to Rakaia is the stink of cow shit every day and I live not far from a piggery but at least that's only a problem in a easterly wind
    . . pretty much all dairy farmers now have their waterways fenced and have bridged stock crossings. A lot of money has also been spent upgrading effluent systems in order to be able to store effluent when the ground is wet and then apply it at low levels so that the grass etc can capture the nutrients and use them for growth.
    and fertilizer runoff rich is it measured is there a decrease
    Last edited by gsp follower; 27-03-2017 at 03:11 PM.

  14. #14
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    You need to learn to work out the difference between a capital investment in infastructure and a cost. The govt expects a return and repayment. Its not a fricken gift.

    Sure they mentioned lower rainfalls, but they just couldn't help themselves on rushing back to try and tie in things that were irrelevant... like nutrient issues.

    They spent the entire program trying to link pollution and low water levels and they failed.

    Don't get me wrong, they need to fix the water levels, but when you get dicks like Mike Joy whose assessment is that there shouldn't be single dairy cow on the canterbury plains, failing to even get a significant toxicity problem from stagnant pools in a dried out water course, then he isn't actually addressing the problem.

    We have enough water... we have to control where it goes.

    Nutrient is a side issue.... getting the flows right will absolutely deal with that non existent problem.

    In North Otago piping water to the hill country on the south side of the Waitaki has resulted in lower toxicity in the water courses, the Waiareka and the Kakanui, simply because of increased water lowering the concentrations...

    When did you ever hear that in the press....?
    Cyclops likes this.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadgetman View Post
    They have got more efficient with irrigation, but I think that greater areas irrigated so overall use probably hasn't dropped.

    I also suspect that the earthquakes have caused issues. Round the road they were 'drilling' new wells for the city before the quakes. They had stopped drilling and done the flow testing. After the quakes the wells were dry so had to be 'drilled' further. Again they did flow testing and started capping everything off, then a few months later they were back 'drilling' down again in earnest. They finally seem to have stopped over 6 years later.

    Maybe @Tussoch (who seems to have had a name change before disappearing) could have shed some light. Have the quakes disrupted the bottom of the aquifer pans?
    most big irrigators pivot or otherwise don't run at full tit but if they did they could use upto 108,000 litres a hour.
    but that's highly unlikely
    area variation could be as lowa s 13% of 30 litres a second =1800 a minute =108,000 an hour ofcourse length of irrigator operating time all come into it.even so multiply that use by the irrigators just in a 20 mile ring of say leeston and its still a shitload of water all ready admitted to be coming from underground Selwyn water.

 

 

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