Whiskey and Water | The Future of Water Infrastructure

On Wednesday afternoon of the Water for Life Conference, there will be a panel discussion debating water infrastructure and with that, what lies in its future. Moderated by award-winning journalist Donna-Marie Leaver, the panel will centre their discussion around the current, institutionalised framework of water and examine their predictions for where it could all be heading.  

Panelist | Susan Kilsby, ANZ Agri-Economist

After growing up on a dairy farm in Taranaki, Susan went on to Massey University to study Agricultural Economics and now resides on a small sheep and beef farm in Martinborough with her family.

Susan worked alongside Massey University to develop a milk price calculator and a milk production predictor tool and has authored several reports on New Zealand and China’s dairy industry.

After heading up an agricultural analyst team at NZX, Susan joined ANZ Bank as Agriculture Economist in October 2018.

Panelist | Sarah Perriam, Perriam Media

A rural broadcaster passionate about connecting curious consumers with our passionate producers, Sarah Perriam runs Perriam Media, a communications consultancy specialising in agri-business & agri-science.

Sarah previously utilised her platform as co-host of the ‘Rural Exchange’ on Magic Talk, and her Friday ‘rural’ segment with Duncan Garner, to regularly talk about the big issues in agri-business. She is launching a new show this January where she plans to keep the conversation going.

Never one to shy away from her opinion, It is likely you have seen Sarah holding down the fort at many an event of late from Grow 2019 to the Blinc Seminar Series at the New Zealand Agricultural Show.

Panelist | Elizabeth Soal, CEO IrrigationNZ

Hailing from Oamaru, Elizabeth has long served the water industry, having held the role of director of strategy and policy at the Waitaki Irrigators’ Collective for eight years and previously advising on policy for the Ministry of Social Development, at the Ministry of Justice and at law firms in New Zealand and England.

Elizabeth joined IrrigationNZ as CEO in 2018, after serving on the board from 2011-2016, with a drive to be a part of the conversation around freshwater management and governance on a national scale. Currently working towards a PhD in geography, with focus on freshwater governance in New Zealand, Liz prides herself on approaching solutions with honesty and integrity, and is sure to bring another side to this discussion due to collaboration daily with schemes, advisors and all those involved in our country’s water.

Panelist | Carl McGuiness, The Nature Conservancy

Founded in the United States in 1951, The Nature Conservancy has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organisations in the world. Carl, Director of Conservation in New Zealand, oversees their projects nationally with a focus on freshwater and marine management. The aim is to apply approaches that result in both people and nature thriving

This involves working in partnership with business, communities, iwi and government, to achieve pragmatic on the ground solutions to conservation problems, and applying innovative sustainable financing models that support local communities in achieving their environmental aspirations.

With over 20 years’ experience working in conservation, Carl certainly has the foundation to discuss how the future of our water should be shaped.

Panelist | Gary Kelliher, Otago Regional Council

Running a sheep and deer farm near Alexandra, Gary’s property is irrigated from the Manuherikia Irrigation scheme, meaning he is of strong opinion on water use as a first-hand user of irrigation. 

He has a civil engineering background, and has held a number of Manuherikia Catchment roles, including Chairman of the Manuherikia Irrigation Scheme and Chairman of the Manuherikia sub-committee of the Otago Water Users Resource Group.

Gary was also involved with the Dairy Creek Irrigation Scheme and led this project through feasibility studies until it was taken up and completed by a grouping of contributing landowners and the local power company.

After sitting as an Otago Regional Councillor from 2013 to 2016, Gary has recently been re-elected and has stood down from catchment roles to focus fully on playing his part at the Council table.

Approaching all discussions with community focus and a want for balance and sustainability in all aspects of communities’ current and future aspirations, Gary believes this angle is critical to decision making involving infrastructure alongside ensuring the environmental health of the rivers, especially with waterways that are unique to Central Otago.

Panelist | Traci Houpapa, FOMA

Growing up on a sheep and beef farm in the King Country, Traci is an award-winning company director and a recognised industry leader, currently holding the position of Chairman of FOMA. She is also a trusted advisor to Maori, Government, public and private sector entities on strategic and economic development.  Traci is known for her strong and inclusive leadership and her clear focus on building the wealth and prosperity of Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Traci has been named as one of the top ten most influential women in New Zealand agribusiness and the Listener’s top ten influencers in New Zealand.  She won the Westpac Fairfax Media Women of Influence Board and Management award and has been named on Westpac’s NZ Women Powerbrokers list.  Traci has been awarded the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Service Award for services to New Zealand agribusiness and Maori, and named amongst the BBCs 100 Most Influential Women in the World.  With a focus on strategy and purpose in all she pursues, Traci is sure to bring a pragmatic approach to the panel.

Offering the perfect opener to this year’s Conference, this topic will certainly open the gate for conversation and give those new to the area some background knowledge on problems faced so far. If you are interested in joining us this year, grab your early bird tickets now.