12 Nov 2010

Growers urged to start installing water meters

2:03 pm on 12 November 2010

The national irrigation body says farmers and growers should get on with installing water meters now - even though the first deadline to have them up and running is 2012.

The Government announced regulations which came into effect this week requiring significant water takes to be metered in order to better manage the country's fresh water.

Those using more than 20 litres per second will need to be metered by 2012, those using 10 litres per second by 2014 and five litres per second within six years.

Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis says there has been some resistance to paying for the meters, which he says will cost most people between $4000 and $8000.

But he says most realise they are a good idea and will help them monitor how thier irrigation system is working.

Mr Curtis says people should get on with installing the water meters sooner rather than later.

Environment Minister Nick Smith says the overall cost of the meters will be about $40 million, but he says that's low compared with the more than $5 billion water contributes to the economy.