We Do Water

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Evaluation is fundamental to a successful project. At the least, it defines the scope of the job and gets everyone on the same page. It should uncover and describe every aspect of what is required and help us to choose the best options with you. It provides the Key Performance Indicators from which the project is engineered and measured. Any evaluation process is scaled according to the size and complexity of a project.

After evaluation, we provide a preliminary then final report outlining our findings and recommendations. The final report is often used to obtain financial or stakeholder approvals. It forms the basis from which to build the design.

We have the tools and the ability to cover every aspect of your water project, including:

  • Site survey and mapping
  • Soil chemistry and mapping
  • Identifying water sources, productivity, and chemistry
  • Analysis of proposed water utilisation
  • Quantifying your water requirements
  • Meeting Compliance requirements under the RMA and local and central Government
  • Obtaining permits, consents, sign off from interested parties
  • Meeting Cultural requirements under the RMA and local and central Government
  • Estimating Project costs and inputs
  • Estimating Productivity and service life expectancy
  • Calculating the Whole of life Cost-benefit
  • Identifying other options
  • Identifying and quantifying the Key Performance Indicators required for the design

We're knowledgeable about large scale projects.

We have the tools and the ability to cover every aspect of your water project


Agwater covers all design aspects of your water project, including the civil, construction, fabrication, pumping, pipelines, electrical, electronic, and specialist components of the job. We have access to specialist design support when required.

All water projects involve other trades: electricians, civil contractors, suppliers. You may have trades that you prefer to use and who will continue to support you after our project is complete. We aim to involve these people as they can contribute to the design process and can support you after the job is done. We can introduce you to trades when required to complement your existing team.

We work to the requirements of the following standards where relevant, including:

  • Irrigation New Zealand Code of Practice and Design Standards
  • INZ Code of Practice for the design of piped irrigation systems
  • Farm Dairy Effluent Design Code of Practice
  • IPENZ Practice Note 21 Farm Dairy Effluent Pond Design and Construction
  • Resource Management Act and local Compliance Requirements
  • Health and Safety at Work
  • Other applicable standards and codes of practice

We have all the tools to develop your water design including:

  • Fully equipped offices
  • Microsoft Office platform including MS Project
  • AutoCAD
  • Irrigation design software
  • Overseer Nutrient Management Software
  • Massey University FDE pond storage calculator
  • Leica UNO GPS system with GeoOffice
  • FOIFO Theodolite
  • In house design tools
  • Access to specialist firms for hydrology, environmental study, largescale survey, and other jobs requiring specialist input
  • Access to international design house support for the larger or more complex project.

Evaluation is fundamental to a successful project.

As is design when undertaking all aspects of your water project


Water is a natural resource and its use is governed by the Resource Management Act, and local and central government policies and plans.

Agwater provides compliance support. With any water project we aim build compliance into the installation and operation of the system.

We can get involved when things have gone wrong and work with all parties to reach the best outcome possible.

According to the terms of the Resource Management Act 1991 (the RMA), you need special permission in the form of resource consent from the applicable local council if you wish to carry out any proposed activity which is for a use of the environment that is inconsistent with the RMA, its associated regulations and your local district or regional plan (your local plans).  Resource consent includes conditions to avoid, fix or reduce effects on the environment resulting from an activity.

We can tell you whether a particular activity is permitted or not within the applicable zone of your local plans to be affected by your proposed activity. Your local plans contain rules and other relevant information that will help you decide whether or not you need a resource consent.  

Importantly, the RMA allows you to take fresh water for your own reasonable domestic needs, drinking water for your animals and for firefighting, provided there would be no adverse effects. In the Waikato region Variation, 6 controls water allocations for some uses including stock water volumes and dairy wash water. Other regions have similar rules in their regional plan that must be met.

The type of consents and permits you need to apply for depending on the exact nature of your proposed activity.  In some instances, you may need to apply for more than one type of resource consent from one or more local councils. In constructing a Dairy Effluent System it can be possible to need consents for discharge of the effluent, earthworks, and construction of a dam or reservoir.

Increasingly there is a requirement for cultural consultation under the RMA Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE). In many cases, more than one Iwi or Hapu can have an interest in the resource. This is not always easy and the consultation process can take time. Agwater has experience in obtaining AEE and working with Iwi and Hapu as a part of the consent process.

All Resource Consents include an expiry date. This can vary but ideally should be set to be equal to, or greater than the operational life of the proposed water activity.

Where a Consent is required within the design process we compile a Resource Consent Application (RCA) and submit this to the Council, with supporting documentation.

A Consents Officer will be assigned by the Council to assess the application. In their assessment, the Consents officer will use in house tools and resources and will produce a Draft Resource Consent. They usually have a set time in which they must issue the draft.

The Draft Resource Consent will conditionally authorise the requested activity and represents the Councils offer. AT this point if the conditions are acceptable the draft can be accepted and the Resource Consent (RC) can be granted. However, the draft conditions are not always favourable to the applicant and we often negotiate with Council for more favourable conditions.

The consent process can be seen as a negotiation between the applicant and the Council. In some cases the success of a project can depend on the successful negotiation of conditions with the Council.

Activities in your local plans may be classified as:

  • Permitted activities – you do not need resource consent but if there are any standards, terms, or conditions for the activity to be permitted laid out in your local plans, these need to be complied with.
  • Controlled activities – you will require resource consent and the activity must comply with the standards, terms or conditions laid out in your local plans.  Your local council, however, also has the final decision as to whether or not to impose additional conditions on the resource consent to control the effects of the activity.
  • Discretionary activities – you will require resource consent and the activity must comply with the standards, terms, or conditions laid out in your local plans.  Your local authority will consider each resource consent application against criteria laid out in your local plans and has the final decision as to whether or not to grant or refuse the application or impose additional conditions on any resource consent granted.  For some activities, your local council may also have “limited” their decision-making powers set out in your local plans, to certain matters.  These are called “limited discretionary activities”.
  • Non-complying activities – you will require resource consent and it will only be granted if the adverse environmental effects of the activity will be minor or if the activity would not be in conflict with the objectives and policies of your local plans.
  • Prohibited activities – you cannot obtain resource consent for those activities that are recorded as prohibited under your local plans.

There are five different types of resource consents, which can be granted, depending on the kind of activity proposed:

  • Land use consent – is very broad in nature and includes activities like building and additions or alterations to a building, the use of a building, undertaking earthworks, major trimming or removal of a scheduled tree, constructing or altering a water bore, vegetation clearance, installing structures like bridges or using or disturbing a river or lake bed;
  • Subdivision consent – includes boundary adjustments or creation of two or more new freehold titles, cross-leases and unit title developments;
  • Coastal permit – for activities in the coastal marine area that do not comply with a regional coastal plan such as taking or using water from an estuary or the sea, performing works which will alter the foreshore or sea bed and diverting coastal water;
  • Water permit – for using, taking, damming or diverting water, or heat or energy from water, which includes, by way of example, taking and using water from a river, stream, dam, lake, spring or well, damming a watercourse, diverting surface water, jetty construction and commercial activities like fishing guiding and kayak hire; and
  • Discharge permit – for discharging water or contaminants into the water or land, or contaminants into the air.
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Looking for the right team?

Look no further, Agwater are waiting to hear from you.

Project Engineering and Management

We have been engineering and managing projects for over 35 years, in commercial, industrial, municipal, and agricultural arenas. We have a good project is about preparation, leadership, building the team, providing them with clear lines of communication, a clear description of what is required, and facilitating their deliverables works best.

Many small rural water projects are straight forward and can be about turning up on the day and getting the job done. The contract is a handshake over the farm gate and we all know where each other lives.  No problem provided nothing goes wrong.

However, not all jobs are straight forward. When the job is big, or complicated, or is going to take a while, or there are deadlines and financial targets to meet, banks and stakeholders to satisfy, having a bunch of good buggers on board may not be enough. Appointing a project manager and engineer can be essential for the job to succeed. Most project budgets won’t stand a full-time position. That is why we provide it as a part of our service.

We usually work using NZS3915:2005, Conditions of Contract for building and civil engineering construction, as a guideline. Over the years we have built up templates for running projects and use these as a matter of course.  

Project Engineering.  More than any other stage in a project the processes of evaluation, design and engineering determine the ultimate outcome of any project. Missing these stages invites cost overrun and failure. We take the evaluation and preliminary design and produce for construction engineering which may include: specifications, schematics, quality, health and safety, timetables, and any other project information.

We use this information in obtaining the necessary permits and consents.

The information is broken down and distributed to all suppliers and participants for pricing and delivery. If the participants have not been selected we can obtain tenders and select suitable trades based on price and non-price attributes. We carry out any site meetings required and bring all parties on board informally or under contract.

We build project-specific financials and reporting systems. We carry out any procurements and establish the site.

Our templates include:

  • Health and Safety
    • Guidelines
    • Hazard ID
    • Toolbox
  • Quality guidelines and processes
  • Filing and reference
  • Engineering
  • Estimating
  • Reporting
  • As-Built
  • Progress claims

Project Management. This is working on a day to basis coordinating team activities to install the system. Over longer-term projects, we maintain and report monthly: project performance: financials and other deliverables to manage the Project to meet KPI (Key Performance Indicators), including Health and Safety; financial targets, design Specifications, Quality, and delivery milestones.

Commissioning. As the project is completed we will commission the system. Commissioning involves checking and verifying the system works to the KPI and specifications. We see commissioning as a culmination of a quality process that begins when the project is first raised. We work to include the installation and end-users so that defects are remedied and knowledge is passed on to the end-user. Through the course of the project we build and amend files on the system and can provide the ‘As Built’ information at the conclusion of the project.

Large scale project? No problem.

The ability to take water and have full control over what you do with it takes a team of experts. Agwater Engineering Limited are that team.

Control and monitoring


An Agwater core skill is applied electronics and automation systems. We offer and install a range of out of the box and custom solutions for your water project. We know what is required of the electrician and can specify their scope of work. We speak the language of integrators and programmers.


Most clients see monitoring as necessary for reporting compliance information to councils. However, monitoring is an important management tool that can assist in managing water systems productivity and operating costs, within consent limits.

Project Management. This is working on a day to basis coordinating team activities to install the system. Over longer-term projects, we maintain and report monthly: project performance: financials and other deliverables to manage the Project to meet KPI (Key Performance Indicators), including Health and Safety; financial targets, design Specifications, Quality, and delivery milestones.

There are a number of monitoring systems available:

Paper and spreadsheet-based systems. This involves manual collection of the information and recording it on paper or spreadsheet. We can provide templates as a backup to automatic systems, or during start-up.

Online Monitoring. This involves collecting data using the main station and/ or remote wireless stations and sending the data over a cellular link to a remote host. The data is stored at the host server and is made available online on a web page, or by report. Some systems enable the manager to remotely control the system. Compliance information is compiled into a file and sent to the council data hub by file transfer protocol (FTP). Alarm events can be sent by voice, text, or email message to the site manager.

HMI (Human Machine Interface)/PLC are becoming quite common in water systems. These provide a control overlay linking the various services and providing a common control platform accessed by the site manager via a touch screen on site. The HMI can also provide remote access and reporting in a similar manner to online monitoring, however, in this case, all of the controls are local. We often install HMI in tandem with online monitoring, in a form of dual-path reporting

Pseudo SCADA and SCADA. SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA systems connect the various services (pumping, irrigation control, other farm services) to a common platform which can be accessed locally and remotely. Data is logged and can be reported in a variety of ways as required for management or compliance. The system can be controlled locally or remotely by most forms of modern computer, handheld, touchscreen or other online devices.We may recommend pseudo SCADA systems for large, complex, or multi-site applications. SCADA systems can be quite expensive and are often associated with Industrial/ Municipal applications.

Common monitoring requirements for compliance reporting:

  • Daily water volumes
  • Water flow rates
  • Bore water levels
  • Water quality testing
  • Effluent Application

Most councils now require monitoring and reporting to be automatic. We generally recommend an independent monitoring company and work with them to develop a system tailored to your requirements. The monitoring company is in charge of collecting and storing all of the information. They can display or send the information to you, and contact you if any monitored fault, alarm, or compliance break occurs. The Monitoring Company collates the information and sends it to the Council Portal or Hub as required by the Council.

In addition to monitoring for compliance, we will often recommend monitoring your system to get the best performance.

Some examples are:

  • Weather stations,
  • Calculating evapotranspiration from weather data
  • Soil Moisture measurement
  • Soil and ambient temperatures
  • Frost Alarm
  • Milk vat temperature
  • Farm Dairy systems
  • Feed silo levels
  • Diesel tank levels
  • Pump status
  • Irrigator status
  • Tank levels
  • Productivity: dry matter production, BRICS levels

Project Engineering

Developing a strategy

Project Management

Coordinating team activities


Working to specification

operation and maintenance

After commissioning we work to set up systems and procedures for the ongoing operation of the system.

We are hands-on at Agwater and offer 24/7 support – whether it’s just a phone call for advice, repairing a broken pipe or pump, or dealing with a council abatement.

When we install a system we work to include your current service providers so they will continue to support your operation. When we select a new provider on your behalf, one of our selection criteria is their ability to provide ongoing support.

Some examples:

  • Setting up maintenance programs and organising break down service support
  • Irrigation, Effluent, or Water Management Plan (IMP/ EMP/ WMP).
    • For irrigation systems, this may involve developing systems to calculate daily application rates from weather data, adjusted by soil moisture data to optimise irrigation performance.
    • For effluent systems, this may involve setting up procedures and protocols for irrigation within compliance constraints, and arranging recording systems as required for compliance.
  • Collecting productivity data and adjusting irrigation management plans to optimise productivity and operating costs.
  • Management of effluent ponds
  • Services and Support