The UK’s National Farming Union (NFU) told delegates at this year’s World Water Week conference in Stockholm (26-31 August), that water security was becoming increasing importance in agriculture following two consecutive dry winters and the looming threat of climate change.
Maeve Whyte, director of the NFU’s office in Brussels, said that farmers “were on the front line”, with water management integral to farming activities and a critical asset for many farming businesses. She said: “There is a growing recognition that we need to move to a position of longer term water resource management and resilience - food security demands water security.
“Investment in new infrastructure is critical and investment incentives, such as appropriate tax incentives to encourage the building of reservoirs to increase security, are another important part of the mix. We also need to invest in research and development to pursue innovative farming techniques and to develop drought resistant crops.”
However, she said that although the EU would be working on a new water strategy, voluntary schemes could work better than widespread regulation.
“British farmers have demonstrated that local, targeted and voluntary schemes are superior to one-size-fits-all regulation,” she said.