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Increasing from 4000m3 to 6000m3 of water storage in 2021
Hauiti Blueberries is located in Tolaga Bay, North East of Gisborne. The four-hectare blueberry growing operation is using Flexi Tanks to collect and store rainwater. I asked Operations Manager Steve Phelps for some insights into the growing operation and why they chose Flexi Tanks.
The company first discussed the idea of a protected blueberry farm in 2017. This was a joint venture between Holdco which is the investment arm of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou and Hauiti Incorporation. A benefit of the joint venture saw Miro provide information regarding growing blueberries under tunnels. The blueberries are also marketed by BerryCo.
The Construction Process:
In June 2018 Resource consent applications were approved. Work started on all the infrastructure including power, water, roading and, land levelling in September of 2018. The construction of one hectare of tunnels and windbreak began in January 2019. By March 9000 Eureka blueberries were planted. By September 2019 the construction of a further three hectares of tunnel houses, all enclosed with wind break and bird netting. This area was planted with a further 11000 Eureka plants in April 2020.
I asked Steve a series of questions regarding the Flexi Tanks they have successfully erected at the property. Below are his responses:
1 Why did you decide to use Flexi Tanks for your water storage needs?
“As we required water storage before Christmas 2020 and were unable to progress with a lined irrigation pond due to poor ground conditions, so the decision was made to look at alternative water storage options. We looked at several different types and decided to use Flexi Tanks.”
2 Do you use the water from the tunnel houses to fill the tanks or is it from a bore/other water source?
“We have a resource consent to draw water from springs but all our water from the tunnels can now be captured and stored in the Flexi Tank bladders.”
3 How much water storage capacity did you decide would be sufficient for your operation?
“We have 4000 m3 of capacity at present and have just ordered another 2000 m3 of capacity. This will give us 6 x 1000 m3 Flexi Tanks worth of storage for the 2021/2022 season. Ideally, we would like to get to 12000 m3 of storage capacity or 100 days of water.”
4 What was involved in preparing the land the Flexi Tanks were to be positioned on? And how easy or difficult was it to lay the tanks out into position?
“Because we are based in Tolaga Bay, one of the contributing factors we went with Flexi Tanks was the site preparation required. All we needed to do was have the site laser levelled and compacted as the soil was ideal for what we needed. Other options required geo tech reports and substantial site preparations. Laying out the tanks was easy which involved 10 people to roll and position.”
5 What are some of the benefits to having Flexi Tanks over ponds?
"Not having any outside influences like ducks or birds and other contaminants getting into the system. Not having to fence the area of as we would need to with an irrigation dam. While we have had to invest in a treatment system due to the water having organic matter the benefits out way the negatives.”
6 Would you recommend Flexi Tanks to other growers?
“We have just purchased two more so yes, I would happily recommend Flexi Tanks to other people. Very professional, great service and friendly to deal with."
Hauiti Blueberries Operations Manager Steve Phelps alonside the 50% full Flexi Tank bladders. When the bladders are full they are at 1.6m high.
If you would like to know more about Flexi Tanks contact:
Flexi Tanks NZ
Mobile: 0277 063 633
Cambridge 3493, New Zealand
Article written and compiled by Stefan Vogrincic
All Article’s checked and edited by Marie Vogrincic
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