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Land use on the flats to be surveyed

28 Nov 2011

Land use on the flats to be surveyed

How land is being used on the Poverty Bay flats will be surveyed over the next couple of months. Lincoln University student Hagen Telfer has been employed to conduct a survey and report back on trends and observations.

This is the fourth year that the survey has been conducted by Council says water conservation team leader Dennis Crone. “The information gathered is being used to help develop a management plan for freshwater in the district. It is important that a reliable water supply is available if the district is to enjoy the economic benefits the land on the flats can produce. Water supply is managed by issuing permits but we really need to understand future demand. If we know what is being grown and how this is changing we can forecast how much water will be needed to irrigate crops.”

“4 years ago grapes were planted on 15% of the flats. This has since dropped to 12%. Grapes use little or no water for irrigation. We are interested in what the land that was planted in grapes will be used for now and in the future.”

“Other changes include an increase in the percentage of land used for squash - 10% up from 7% 4 years ago – and a decrease in land used for maize and sweetcorn - 25% down from 30% 4 years ago.”

Hagen will be systematically driving through the Poverty Bay flats and manually recording each crop type onto aerial maps obtained from GIS arcmap software.

The study area begins south of Muriwai past Williams Road and extends north as far as Whatatutu including west to Whakarau Road past Te Karaka, Ngatapa and Waingake Road. As much as possible of the Poverty Bay flats will be included in the survey.

“Hagen will start surveying in late December through till mid January. This is when water for irrigation is vulnerable and there is a risk of over allocating the resource. Most of the surveying can be carried out from the road but he will need to cross private land in some areas. Land owners will be contacted by phone, email or in person where possible to gain permission. The cooperation of companies leasing land on the flats and all land owners will be most appreciated.”

Ex Napier Boys High student Hagen has just completed his first year at Lincoln University. He has been studying towards a Bachelor of environmental management and planning, majoring in water science and technology with a minor in spatial planning.

Anyone with questions about this project should contact Dennis Crone at Council on 06 867 2049 or email service@gdc.govt.nz