Caleb Higham

Doctor of Philosophy, (Soil Science)
Study Completed: 2017
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Water use on pastoral dairy farms in New Zealand: An analysis of measurements, predictions, and water footprinting

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Water use on New Zealand dairy farms is much more complex than historic guidelines indicated. Since the original guidelines were made, dairy farming has changed significantly. Mr Higham measured detailed water use on more than 100 farms in the Waikato, Manawatu, and Canterbury regions. Predictive modelling was carried out to update water use figures, set water use benchmarks, analyse variations of water use over time and between regions, and assess the likely impacts of climate change. His research, for the first time, estimated leakage rates in farm water supplies. Lastly, he applied and evaluated different water footprint methods and data to assess dairy farming’s impact on local water resources. This data indicated that the use of local data at a catchment scale gave the most reliable results. Collectively, Mr Higham’s research serves to update industry and policy guidelines, and aid in water management where there are limits to water availability.

Professor David Horne
Dr Brent Clothier
Dr Mike Scarsbrook
Associate Professor Ranvir Singh