NFU calls for change to prevent water waste
NewsWednesday 30 October 2013
The NFU has today claimed that farmers and growers should be offered more of an opportunity to better capture water during times of plenty.
They stated that the Government should adjust policy to allow this in order to enable the industry to produce more British food when there are water shortages.
Dr Ceris Jones was speaking at the Westminster Forum’s seminar on delivering the National Adaptation Programme. She said that the industry couldn’t keep going from peak to trough where water was concerned.
According to the NFU, she said: “With the risk of flooding at the forefront of many farmers’ minds after the rainfall of the last few weeks, or after last year, it might seem strange to talk about water security, but they are two sides of the same coin.
“If agriculture in the UK is to realise its potential as the climate changes we need to give farmers the tools and the confidence to invest in the face of an uncertain future climate.
“Some of that confidence will come from Government policy recognising that farming needs a fair and secure supply of water but that agricultural land also needs to be protected from flooding.”
Fourteen per cent was wiped off the UK farming bottom line in 2012, which showed just how vulnerable the UK’s agriculture industry is to extreme weather events. And, the climate change projections going forward have suggested that such extreme events could become more frequent.
The NFU has stated that more financial support is needed, along with less red tape when building on-farm water storage reservoirs, to help farmers play a wider role in both reducing flood risk and increasing water security.
They have also stated that abstraction reform is also required in the Government’s Water Bill to enable farmers to fill up their reserves during periods of high flows regardless of the season.
NFU national water resources specialist Paul Hammett said: “The main lesson learned from the 2010-12 drought was that we need more storage to capture water when it is plentiful. And reservoirs are seen by our members as the single most important means of improving water security.
“Tax breaks for on-farm reservoir construction will deliver the growth that the Chancellor so desperately wants to see and make our industry more resilient."
Picture: Paul Albertella