Use of Water

Using Water

Using water wisely is all about getting the right amount in the right place, at the right time.


Growers can use water from the ground (bore), or surface water: rivers, lakes or streams and some from storage ponds or town supply*.
The water can be used, in addition to natural rainfall, to:

  • Irrigate trees
  • Spray – guard against pests and disease
  • Fertiliser use – determining the method of delivering nutrition to your trees is important not only for management but also for environmental outcomes
    • Hard fertiliser (flushed into the soil )
    • Foliar feeding (nutrient added to water and delivered by sprayer)
    • Fertigation (injection of fertiliser into an irrigation system)
  • Protect against frost

A knowledge of tree phenology (the natural and seasonal cycle of a tree in relation to climate) is important to understanding its water needs. Using additional water through irrigation enables growers to:

  • Even out the periods of precipitation ensuring appropriate water demand is met during critical periods of a tree’s growth
  • Avoid plant stress, increasing both crop productivity and crop quality
  • Have security against crop damage due to frost
  • Better manage nutrient uptake
  • Manage nutrient movement through, and mitigate nutrient leaching from the soil profile into local aquifers and water ways

Every property and grower has a limited amount of water they are allowed to take. This is a called a permitted take. You do not need a consent if you remain within the rules for this permitted activity for your region.


*Town supply

Growers that access a municipal supply for irrigation do not require a consent from their Territorial Authority (TA). Growers do need to talk with their regional council, however, to gain access and their regional council may impose conditions or certain restrictions on the take.

The risk of town supply is one of security. In times when water restrictions are put in place on municipal supply access for growers could be reduced if domestic water supply is put at risk.

Click to link to your regional rules for permitted activity