Kiwis love water – we love to swim, surf, dive, fish, and just float around. We love to talk about it – the weather, how much rain have we had? When will it stop raining? When will it start? And farmers even more so!

Sadly, this summer has seen many drownings – a testament to how much we collectively love the water but many don’t respect it and the danger of it. A great case for renewed efforts to teach every child to swim and to respect and understand the power of wild water in our rivers and at our many beaches.

As I write this, the West Coast is being pummelled with up to 500mm of rain, possibly its second 100-year rainfall event in six months. I feel for those who haven’t quite finished remediating their houses and farms from the last dump and are facing a repeat.

And other parts of the country are in drought and crying out for rain.

What is this change if not climate change?

New Zealand does not face a lack of water, but rather a lack of the right drop in the right spot, and our special report attacks that from a multitude of angles. We talk to farmers who are sharpening up the efficiency of their irrigation practice, others who are getting certainty from community and onfarm water storage, new technologies for forecasting exactly when and how much to irrigate and the strategy of the irrigation industry group. They say the best way to mitigate adverse weather is to plan for it – requiring more investment in capturing the precious drops when it falls, storing it for when it doesn’t arrive and conserving and using best irrigation practices for when we need the water the most. (pg 50)

We also have part II of our contract milking feature – while it’s an excellent way to build equity, it is important to ensure the contract is set up for success at the start, and that new contractors are encouraged and educated to make the best of it.

Well-structured contracts are a win for both parties and allow people to move through the business and put down roots, which is great for families and communities, says Dairy Holdings’ chief operating officer Blair Robinson in Canterbury. (pg 34)

In The Year of Yes – Phil Edmonds delves into the mood of the banking sector and finds that farmers seeking extra funding stand more chance this year. (pg14)