Water: How Much it Matters to New Zealand’s Agricultural Industry

Agricultural IndustryWater is more than a resource for drinking and other common household tasks. It is a vital commodity for various sectors, including New Zealand’s agricultural industry. In fact, it is among the main reasons the country continues to thrive.

New Zealand’s Agricultural Industry

Agriculture is one of New Zealand’s most productive industries, accounting for most of their tradable products that cost about $10 billion a year. The New Zealand Official Yearbook revealed that this sector contributed approximately two-thirds of exports in 2006-2007 alone. The amount of such exports reached over $14.8B.

Among those exports, the dairy export stands out as the one that drives more money to the economy. Statistics New Zealand revealed that both dairy export prices and volumes rose considerably from 1992 to 2012. This is due to the high demand from China as well as the country’s diverse export markets, which include the UK, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and North Africa.

Importance of Water in Agriculture

Water is primarily the reason for the growth of the agricultural industry. New Zealand has plenty of supply because of its lakes and rivers. The abundant water supply makes it easy for a well drilling company to construct wells and irrigation systems for farms and livestock.

Such a commodity is also essential in maintaining the industry’s growth. The high demand for milk powder causes farmers to switch from meat production to dairy. This increases water consumption for agricultural purposes as a result.

Not Without Challenges

However, as much as New Zealanders value water, they do things that cause damage to this vital commodity as well as its related industries. Intensive dairy farming tends to pollute the water supply as waste matter from cattle, phosphates and nitrates seep into groundwater.

Many water sources such as Manawatu River, Lake Ellesmere and Rotorua Lakes have high levels of pollution. The prevalence of water pollution in New Zealand’s water sources is hurting water supply for humans and for agricultural purposes as a result.

Water – A Vital Commodity for Agricultural Industry

New Zealand’s agricultural industry thrives because of its rich fresh water supply. However, the increased activity for such industry is also causing damage to such commodity and its end users. As such, the government as well as the farmers to take steps to ensure that New Zealand’s waters remain fit for human and animal consumption.