Water Management Tools

Our research allows agricultural and horticultural industries to optimise water usage.

Water is an increasingly valuable resource and optimised water management has become a vital component of modern horticulture. Our scientists take an active role in addressing the water management needs of all sectors of the horticultural, arable and pastoral industries.

We have developed several models to evaluate the impact of land use changes on water resources, as well as dedicated calculators designed to optimise the irrigation needs of vegetable, arable and fruit crops. Our water footprinting research is also accurately measuring the virtual water content of food products, an emerging issue for food producers worldwide.

Our understanding of soil-water interactions, ground water systems and nitrate leaching is helping to design new tools to monitor and enhance the quality of water resources. We are also uncovering new science about the soil structure and how soils store water reserves.

We have developed irrigation allocation and irrigation management calculators for:

  • Irrigation consultants
  • Horticultural industries
  • Arable industries
  • Regional Councils.

Land Use Change & Intensification
Plant & Food Research is the leading partner in the Land Use Change & Intensification (LUCI) programme. The programme is designed to provide the integrated knowledge and tools required by land users and policy makers to assess and manage better the impacts associated with land use change and intensification on agricultural productivity and the environment.

The LUCI programme has developed models based on the water use of various crops, how soils store water and how nutrients are lost through leaching.

Integrated Research for Aquifer Protection
Integrated Research for Aquifer Protection (IRAP) is a collaborative programme to understand the big picture of water quality - from the plant to the aquifer. The research is developing new computer-based tools for resource managers to use to develop policies for land use decisions, water quality protection and to promote best practice management techniques.

Plant & Food Research is involved in the following areas of research:

  • Environmental impacts of land use changes and intensification
  • Soil and plant processes and interactions
  • Vadose zone processes.
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