26 Jan 2016

Wanted: Farmers for groundwater study

6:35 am on 26 January 2016

Farmers east of SH1 and between the Ashburton and Rakaia Rivers are being invited to join a three-year research project on groundwater quality.

Friesian cow.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The project - initiated by local farmers and funded by Ministry for Primary Industries' Sustainable Farming Fund - involves collaboration between local farmers, businesses, industry groups and Environment Canterbury (ECan).

The Foundation For Arable Research (FAR) is managing the project, which CEO Nick Pyke said had been set up to provide the best and most up-to-date information available on water use and quality in the area.

"ECan are gradually working through different regions and trying to ensure that the management of water is related to the community requirements," he said.

"To have a really good understanding of what the water quality is doing throughout the year, and throughout the region, will be really critical if the farmers and the community in that area are going to manage the water quality effectively."

Most of the project's work would focus on nitrates, he said.

"There are some wells in the region that have been monitored as part of the national environment monitoring for a number of years... It varies a bit throughout the region but generally the groundwater is at a level that we are not too concerned about."

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