Herath Herath

Doctor of Philosophy, (Soil and Enviromental Sciences)
Study Completed: 2013
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
The Water Footprint of Agricultural Products in New Zealand: The Impacts of Primary Production on Water Resources

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Freshwater is becoming a scarce resource around the world and agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater. As the dominant land use in New Zealand, agriculture has widespread impacts on freshwater quality and quantity. The water footprint is a measure of the impact that agricultural-water use has on local water resources. In her research, Indika developed a new methodology to quantify the water footprint using the full hydrological water balance. She then applied this to quantify the impacts of hydropower generation, wine-grape and fresh-potato production on local water resources. She found that wine and potato production actually contribute to groundwater recharge and ensure no deleterious impacts on the quantity of local water resources. But she did find some impact on water quality because of the leaching of agrichemicals. However, Indika did show how improved fertilizer management could reduce the footprint, and lower the impacts on the quality of receiving groundwaters.  Indika has already published three scientific papers from her thesis in international Journals.

Professor David Horne
Dr Brent Clothier
Associate Professor Ranvir Singh