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NFU launches Water Bank to help farmers to ‘trade’ water

PUBLISHED: 16:59 09 August 2018

NFU vice president Stuart Roberts visits the depleted reservoir at James Foskett Farms at Bromeswell Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

NFU vice president Stuart Roberts visits the depleted reservoir at James Foskett Farms at Bromeswell Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS

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A new service aimed at helping match farmers and growers who urgently need water with neighbouring farm businesses who have a surplus has been launched by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

The Water Bank follows an appeal by the NFU to the Environment Agency (EA) at last week’s Agricultural Drought Summit for more flexibility in the abstraction licensing system.

The EA has agreed to consider and approve wherever possible fast-track, short-term trades of water to help farmers cope with pressures on food production caused by the recent unprecedented spell of hot, dry weather.

Water trading will be localised, with donors and recipients having to operate within the same ‘hydrological unit’, or river or groundwater aquifer area. NFU vice president Stuart Roberts said the new service would help unlock farmers’ access to much-needed water to help produce the nation’s food.

“The launch of the NFU Water Bank as a web-based noticeboard could be of considerable help to some of our members who are quickly running out of water for fruit and vegetable production as they use up their annual abstraction volumes,” he said.

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