• Gracey Griffin

New dam rules for Kiwi farmers

Proposed regulations for dam structural and monitoring compliance will come at a cost for farmers. Existing rules cover the construction of dams on farms, but not regular check ups and maintenance.

The proposed regulations state that dams assessed as 'low risk' will be checked every 5 years and medium to high risk structures will be reviewed annually. The reason for these checks is to ensure a secure supply of water to the farms, as well as protecting surrounding areas. Damages and breaches to a dams structure can lead to flooded farms, flooded houses and even damage to near-by highways.

Monitoring of dams and ponds is important but farmers are worried it will be adding to the 'ever-growing pile of paperwork' they need to do for on-site compliance. Many dams in New Zealand are upwards of 100 years old and will need a significant amount of work to reach the new standards - costing tens of thousands of dollars. Another concern for farmers is that the proposed regulations includes anything 30,000 cubic m and above. Many believe this is too small meaning effluent storage ponds and irrigation races will get caught up in it too.

Current trends in NZ farming show that onsite dams are becoming more popular. Innovation in irrigation schemes and water storage means farmers are holding more water onsite rather than pumping from local waterways or trucking in supplies. This will require constant monitoring and regulatory checks to ensure the systems are running effectively.

One way of monitoring onsite dams and ponds is through IoT and Smart Farming solutions. Water level monitors can be installed on storage systems to continuously read levels, record data and alert the user of abnormal readings. This is a cost-effective method of 'set and forget' monitoring. It relieves farmers of having to check their dam for water levels and will also collect and store readings for compliance 'paperwork'. Alerts will warn the user of leaks, blockages and overflowing water so action can be taken before damages occur.

The Waterwatch LS1 is used as a dam and pond monitoring solution. It provides real-time water levels, abnormal reading alarms and data collection. This can be viewed through the users smartphone or desktop computer so is suitable for use in remote areas. Regular reviews will still be needed under the proposed new regulations, however monitoring between check ups will be largely taken care of.

If you are interested in monitoring dams and ponds, please contact us for more information.



+64 3 477 2779

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