Councils re-launch SMART Watering

In a bid to help home gardeners cope with another dry summer, the SMART Watering campaign re-launched on the eve of Labour Weekend – New Zealand’s traditional start to summer gardening.

The Waimakariri District Council is again at the forefront, along with four other Canterbury districts who have joined forces with IrrigationNZ, Environment Canterbury and two industry partners. The aim of the campaign is to help the region’s home gardeners make the best use of irrigation water this summer.

Home gardeners, lifestyle irrigators, small businesses, sports grounds and schools are the target of the public awareness and education campaign which was piloted last summer in the Waimakariri, Timaru, Ashburton and Selwyn Districts

The SMART Watering campaign teaches urban gardeners how to apply water efficiently. Its wider roll-out follows on from the successful SMART Irrigation programme which guides irrigating farmers to ensure targeted and efficient water use.

This year’s campaign will focus on educating people about ‘drip irrigation’ – the most efficient way to apply water, the benefits of timers or controllers for home garden irrigation systems, and how to store and use rainwater within the garden.

Case studies have been produced in the five districts taking part showcasing a range of people and groups using water efficiently. These include an organic gardening set-up in Mid Canterbury, Lincoln University’s irrigation modernisation project, a family of four who grow all their own food near Kaiapoi, a park re-grassing project in Twizel and the South Canterbury Rugby Football Union’s collaboration with Timaru District Council which has led to reduced irrigation on its sports fields.

"The campaign’s return shows the appetite that exists for SMART Watering information. Home gardeners can learn a lot from irrigating farmers. Knowing how much water plants and crops require, installing efficient systems for water application and the monitoring of soil moisture are practices everyone should employ. Our focus this season will be on introducing more people to drip irrigation, timers and controllers for home irrigation systems and the benefits of water storage,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

As well as case studies illustrating these approaches, topic-specific SMART Watering factsheets are available on the Facebook page and website

Simple things like choosing early mornings or evenings to water your plants, setting a timer on the veggie patch sprinkler, investigating rain tanks on the roof, or selecting less water-hungry plants are recommended.

  • SMART stands for sustainably managed, accountable, responsible and trusted.
  • SMART Irrigation and SMART Watering practice rely on the same principles - checking that your system can apply water efficiently, that your use of water is justified and that you're monitoring and measuring as you go.
  • SMART Watering isn't difficult and will save you time and money in the long term.
  • SMART Watering is sustainable watering - be part of the solution to conserve supply.

IrrigationNZ is the national body representing irrigators and the irrigation industry. It's mission is to promote excellence in irrigation throughout New Zealand. IrrigationNZ launched the SMART Irrigation Programme in 2014 which stands for Sustainably Managed, Accountable, Responsible Irrigation.

Contact: Colin Roxburgh

Phone: 03 311 8900