BCI is committed to balancing the irrigation needs of farmers with sustaining and safeguarding the natural environment.
The New Zealand Government has set its expectations for environmental performance by farmers, and other users of natural resources, through the National Policy Statement on Fresh Water. This effectively developed a set of guidelines for the various Regional Councils across the country, from which the Canterbury Regional Council developed the Land and Water Regional Plan. Under that plan, BCI operates an Audited Self Management programme authorised by a Nutrient Discharge consent, which essentially places the environmental performance responsibilities of the BCI irrigators with BCI itself.
In practice, BCI utilises the Irrigo Centre Limited Environmental Team to work with individual irrigators and ensure they are meeting Good Management Practice (GMP), an industry accepted schedule of practices on farm that will lead to good environmental outcomes. The process includes assistance with completion of Farm Environment Plans, collation and quality checking of Nutrient Budgets, scheduled workshops on industry innovations and GMP, and facilitation of independent on-farm Audits.
The primary environmental challenge in Mid Canterbury is nitrate loss to groundwater from intensive farming. The processes described above strongly focus on minimising BCI’s collective losses and improving groundwater quality.
You can learn more about BCI’s Audited Self Management programme within the BCI Environmental Management Strategy.
You can also see how BCI has been performing in the BCI Nutrient Discharge Annual Report.