What is SMART Irrigation?

SMART Irrigation is Sustainably Managed, Accountable, Responsible and Trusted irrigation. SMART irrigators aim to minimise their environmental footprint through efficient water use, and must also run a profitable business. This allows them to reinvest in new and improved technologies which ensure sustainable and responsible irrigation over time.


New irrigation technologies and decision support tools are continually being innovated in New Zealand and globally. Water use efficiency and energy use efficiency are the main focuses of these innovations. Fortunately, efficiency is linked to better quality production and improved profitability. Over the last two decades there has been a major change in the irrigation technology used in New Zealand. There has been a general move from manual flood irrigation to remotely controlled spray irrigation such as centre pivots, dripline and microsprinklers.


There are three components to SMART Irrigation – 

  • The irrigation system can apply water efficiently
  • The use of water is justified
  • Irrigators can provide proof of the above and are held responsible for their actions

In New Zealand an Innovation in Irrigation Award has been held biennially since 2010. Posters of the top eight innovations and the winners can be found here. 

Did you know?

Not all irrigation development is just for dairy farming. Irrigation is just as crucial for New Zealand’s arable, vegetable and fruit industries as it is for stock farmers. Having access to reliable water for crop growth and development helps our grain, seed, vegetable, fruit and cereal farmers deliver sufficient supply for local and international markets.