Managing Environmental Challenges

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					       Managing
Environmental Challenges
       Claire Mulcock
    Mulgor Consulting Ltd
  ……..OR


How can we achieve
environmental rigour
      without
   rigor mortis ?
 What is the Challenge?

Worldwide, including NZ, noticeable
changes to surface and groundwater have
been caused by the combined effects of:
– infrastructure development
– water abstraction for irrigation
– drainage containing nutrients and other
  chemicals from intensive land use
            What is the Challenge?

Perceived effects are a major barrier:
• 70% of New Zealanders believe there
  is a water shortage now or will be
  within 5 years
• 68% perceive freshwater quality to be
  worse or much worse than 10 years
  ago. Intensive land use (especially
  dairying) is seen as responsible.
From: ‘A BEST USE SOLUTION FOR NEW ZEALAND’S WATER PROBLEMS’ NZBCSD
   2008. Data from a national online survey conducted by ShapeNZ in August 2007
      No Easy Answers


• The ‘big ticket’ environmental issues for
  irrigation are complex:
  – Water quality out
  – Effective use of water in
• Adverse effects are often long term and
  hard to predict
• The scheme must be economically viable
   Go Slow to Go Fast

• Relationships take time and energy to
  build and sustain
• It can seem that involving more people
  or organisations will slow the process
  and require excessive compromise
• Trying to fast track may lead to gridlock
  or highjack
• Be pro-active and build trust
The Target Keeps Moving


• Nothing is certain in biophysical systems
• Knowledge will never be adequate
• Many questions will only be answered by
  experience
• Need adaptive management (‘learning by
  doing’)
  The Devil is in the Dynamics,
      not just the Details

• Environmental management is integral,
  not an add-on to the development
• Dealing with the effects of intensification,
  not just taking and distributing water
• Need to enable innovation and allow
  flexibility for water users
Getting from here to there

• Wider community is often suspicious
• Perception that schemes have a narrow
  focus on wealth creation at expense of
  adverse social and ecosystem impacts
• Need to achieve high environmental
  standards AND demonstrate these to
  regulators and wider community
             Summary

•   No Easy Answers
•   Go Slow to Go Fast
•   The Target Keeps Moving
•   The Devil is in the Dynamics, not just
    the Details
     Creating the Win-Win
• Accept that irrigation schemes do modify
  the environment, sometimes with harmful
  side effects
• Educate wider community about the
  benefits of irrigated agriculture, not
  irrigation per se
• Work to minimise negative environmental
  effects not only for new schemes, but also
  existing
       Can We Do It?
• Kiwis are
  – Practical, commonsensical and tolerant
  – Innovative, self-reliant, can turn hand to
    many things ‘No 8 fencing wire’
• These qualities are sound basis for
  win-win solutions
• BUT
  – Tall poppy syndrome
Rigour without rigor mortis


•   Accept that there are No Easy Answers
•   Go Slow to Go Fast by building trust
•   Allow for Moving Targets
•   Don’t knock the movers and shakers,
    give them a hand!

				
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posted:2/27/2012
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