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Land Use Options in Waimakariri

June 2024

The Whitiwhiti Ora: Land Use Opportunities case study in Waimakariri brought farmers and researchers together to co-design an approach to assessing diverse opportunities when considering land-use change. It encompassed opportunities beyond business as usual. Any alternative land-use opportunities under consideration had to be economically viable, acceptable to the farmer, as well as possible given the soil and climate. The focus was on diversification over time rather than wholesale land use change.

While the work focused mostly on water quality and the impact of nitrogen (nitrate leaching) in particular, the work also took into account other contaminants (phosphorus, E.coli, sediment), greenhouse gas emissions, and the need to adapt to a changing climate. Workshops with farmers, industry experts, and researchers ran in tandem with the development of the Data Supermarket, which aims to make this process more accessible for similar land-use decision-making in the future.

The ultimate aim of the project was to enable farmers to make confident decisions that allow the land and its people to prosper.

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