IrrigationNZ rewards industry innovation

Published: Mon 3 Oct 2011 02:50 PM
October 3 2011
IrrigationNZ rewards industry innovation
Innovation, discovery and achievement making a positive contribution to irrigation and efficient water management are set to be rewarded by the industry’s national body.
Irrigation New Zealand, in association with Aqualinc, will open nominations this month for the second biennial “Innovation in Irrigation’ award.
The award is an opportunity for the industry to showcase innovation, and IrrigationNZ’s way to recognise new invention, ideas, systems, or gadgets that are constantly coming out of the irrigation sector. The award celebrates, encourages and promotes innovation and the benefit and impact irrigation provides to communities right throughout New Zealand..
Innovation is the potential for new knowledge to have a positive impact on irrigation through technology or in a manner that will enhance the economic, social, cultural or environmental aspects of irrigation. Individuals, groups or companies are invited to highlight their innovation with entry into this prestigious award.
The 2012 award, run in conjunction with the association’s biennial conference, to be held in Timaru in April, is sponsored by Aqualinc and carries a cash first prize of $2500, as well as publicity, recognition and kudos, not only for the award winner but also those entrants selected as finalists.
“IrrigationNZ is looking to recognise and reward the positive initiatives being undertaken with irrigation, and wider community benefits as a result of irrigation,” IrrigationNZ business manager Chris Coughlan said.
Nominations from irrigators, schemes, water user groups, environmental groups, industry, university students and researchers open on October 20 and close on February 1, 2012. Finalist entries will be showcased, and the official award presentation held at the IrrigationNZ conference in Timaru, April 2-4.
Although the innovation may have evolved over a longer period of time, to be eligible the innovation must be able to show a clear impact to irrigation in New Zealand in the past five years.
Too often irrigation is portrayed as a negative activity without also acknowledging the huge associated benefits to the community, economy and the environment that good management practice irrigation undoubtedly delivers.
This award gives the industry the opportunity to showcase the steps it is taking to improve and deliver on the wider community demands of efficient use of water and consideration for the environment. “This is the chance for everyone to get involved and highlight the innovation that is happening and encourage more of it,” Coughlan said.
“So if you have quietly been working away, or know of someone who has, on a good idea and believe recognition is deserved then now is the time to enter.”
The inaugural award in 2010 was won by ‘Precision Irrigation’, a Fielding-based firm that has developed a variable rate irrigation (VRI) system for pivot and lateral irrigators. The system uses mapping and GPS technology to intelligently alter the amount of water applied over the area under the irrigator. The technology has immediate impacts and can benefit the farmer with greater water use efficiency and power savings.
Since the Irrigation Innovation Award, Precision Irrigation has gone from strength to strength. In the past year they have sold double the systems that they had envisaged and will by the end of this season have around 60 VRI systems operating on pivots and laterals worldwide, including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and America.
For full award information, criteria detail, and nomination/entry forms go to

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