New Zealand: Aupōuri growers should pay for water if they use too much

New Zealand’s Ministry of Education is calling for better monitoring of groundwater levels at some Far North schools to make sure avocado irrigation does not affect them too much. If any school bores do dry up or turn salty, the ministry wants orchardists to pay for setting up alternative water supplies.

Commissioners for the Northland Regional Council are in Kaitaia this week hearing submissions for and against 24 applications by the Aupōuri Aquifer Water Users Group to draw up to 6.2 million cu m a year. The water would mainly be used for avocado orchards, which are booming in the Houhora area north of Kaitaia. quoted Hydrogeologist Kenneth Alexander as saying that overall, the council's proposals for monitoring the aquifer for salt water intrusion and groundwater depletion were ''relevant and robust'', but he called for extra monitoring of some school bores, especially those drawing from the shallow aquifer which had not been assessed as thoroughly as the deeper shell bed aquifer.

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