Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : June 2011 Contents 58 The Dairyman JUNE 2011
NATIONAL FIELDAYS® PREVIEW
HARVESTING rainwater for domestic use can provide a safe and
sustainable supply for both rural and urban households, says a
Stan Abbott, from the Roof Water Research Centre, will be show-
casing the latest systems and research that can ensure a safe and plen-
tiful supply of rainwater at National Fieldays.
He says already more than 400,000 New Zealanders rely on roof-har-
vested water for their daily needs. "Many of these are rural households,
but urban dwellers are increasingly being encouraged to install rainwa-
ter tanks to save mains water, reduce flood risk and have an emergency
water supply in case of disasters like earthquakes," Mr Abbott said.
His team is working on ways to maximise water capture and ensure
it is always safe to drink. The centre has a
wide range of rainwater storage tanks with
purpose-built plumbing configurations for
evaluating rainwater-harvesting products and
Mr Abbott, a senior lecturer in microbiol-
ogy and communicable diseases in the
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human
Health, says the latest laboratory methods
are used to test a variety of water quality
"We can test roof-water samples from any-
where in New Zealand," he said. "A range of
software packages are used for health-risk
assessment, while modelling software is used
to estimate tank yields and cost benefits of rainwater tanks in urban
The microbiological quality of collected rainwater differs widely
from tank to tank, but steps can be taken to lessen the risk of contami-
"These include ensuring the roof and guttering is made from non-
toxic material and kept clear of moss, lichen and debris; installing gut-
ter guard screens to prevent blockages; and using downpipe debris
screens and first-flush diverters to prevent contaminated water entering
Tanks should be inspected annually and if necessary should be pro-
fessionally cleaned, Mr Abbott says.
Current research projects at the centre are focused on pathogen
destruction and removal systems in rainwater tanks; cost-effective
measures to protect roof water from contamination; and effectiveness of
chemical-control methods, tank configurations, first- flush diverters,
rain heads, calmed inlets and tank vacuum systems on stored water.
Tapping into the
free water market MASSEY University researchers are creating a living
laboratory around the Manawatu campus, moving
local research successes to learning that has global
Sustainability group leader Dr Allanah Ryan says that while
sustainability is "the new common sense", there needs to be a
clear pathway for sustainable development to make a differ-
ence on a global scale.
"We're exploring new ways of learning from what we
already do, working col-
laboratively with part-
ners in both the public
and private sector," she
One example of the
approach is the use of
Massey's farmlets --
small blocks created
within the University's
2000 hectares of farms.
"We're bringing farm-
ers from across New
Zealand to do research
with us," Dr Ryan says.
"This builds a stronger
bridge between what the
university does and what
happens on farms -- and
what we learn can be
scaled up and out to
develop models that can
be used internationally."
The University's Ecological Economics Research Centre
also explores the links between the environment, economy and
people. It aims to enhance the New Zealand environment in
ways that allow the economy and the people to prosper.
For example, the centre is working on sustainable ecosys-
tems within the Ngati Raukawa rohe. This project demon-
strates how Western knowledge and Kaupapa Maori science
can work together.
A new program called Manaaki Taha Moana: Enhancing
Coastal Ecosystems for Iwi, extends the focus to Bay of Plenty
iwi with support from central and local government.
Living laboratory set to
create global solutions
Dr Allanah Ryan.
Brian Mace • Phone: 0274 389 822 or 07 889 0528
Email: email@example.com • Web: www.gibb-gro.co.nz
• Plant growth regulator
• Promotes pasture growth • Very cost effective
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