John Bright

Director of Research & Development

DDI: +64 3 964 6517


  • PhD Agricultural Engineering, University of Canterbury, 1986

  • BEng (Hons) Agricultural Engineering, University of Canterbury, 1978

  • BSc Physics, University of Canterbury, 1975

John has 34 years’ experience in working with water resource users and managers to solve problems relating to sustainable development of water and land resources.


Project areas include irrigation development and management, strategic water management, groundwater quality protection, water allocation for agricultural and horticultural industries, and flood damage assessments for residential, commercial and industrial areas.

John has been involved with irrigation at scheme and on-farm levels since 1979. He has worked on irrigation scheme investigation, design and upgrading projects in North Otago (Maerewhenua, Lower Waitaki, Waireka-Kakanui, Benmore), Canterbury (Ashburton-Lyndhurst, Barrhill-Chertsey, Central Plains), Marlborough (Waihopai Valley, Southern Valleys, Awatere), Tasman and Wairarapa (Martinborough, Otaki, Greytown).


John has also undertaken investigations and led training courses in Turkey with regard to on-farm irrigation and drainage matters. In all this work, he has developed and applied computer-based methods for simulating irrigation system operation and soil-water dynamics, to provide information on irrigation demand and drainage to groundwater systems. He continues to be actively involved in government-funded research to improve tools for assessing the effects of land-use practices on irrigation water demand and on groundwater.

John has extensive practical experience in software development and the construction of large land-use databases. He pioneered the development and use of spatial database-driven methods for flood damage assessment in New Zealand. For the application of this work in the Wellington and Manawatu regions, he received a NZWWA merit award. In the 1990s, John was one of a team of five specialists who developed IRRICAD, which is now the leading software world-wide for the design of sprinkler, drip and micro-irrigation systems.