Farming Insight: CLA East’s Tim Isaac says don’t take fresh water for granted

Tim Isaac, CLA East deputy director

Tim Isaac, CLA East deputy director - Credit: Archant

LIVING and working in the Essex and Suffolk countryside in the winter is both a privilege and a challenge.

The wonder of the winter landscape is tempered by the practical difficulties created for everyday life.

The most obvious example of this came on Christmas Eve – while my children were enjoying playing, I was tackling our frozen water supply.

It appeared that I was the only member of the family who had fully thought through the implications of a Christmas without any fresh water.

Fortunately for us as a family the thaw came just in time and fortunately for us as a nation, the absence of fresh water is not something that many people ever have to experience. But, will this always be the case?

Many other countries in the world have had to deal with an insufficient water supply for generations and have introduced systems to manage that situation.

It is our responsibility to manage our natural resources in such a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

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Fresh water is a vital resource, the supply of which is steadily decreasing at the same time as global demand is increasing.

For farmers and land managers, this poses the challenge of securing the water needed to produce enough good quality food.

Now is the time for all of us to stop taking our water supply for granted and start managing and using it as the valuable and limited commodity it really is.

This is why the CLA is urging the Government to support farmers who capture and use water in a sustainable way.

The ‘Tide is High’ is a paper which sets out the CLA’s vision for water supply, water quality and flood and coastal defence in England & Wales and can be found at:

The Government should promote on-farm reservoirs and allow land managers greater flexibility to work with water’s natural cycle.

Excess rainwater should not be allowed to cause damaging floods; it should be captured and stored for use during times of low rainfall.

On-farm reservoirs do not need to be big and can be sympathetically incorporated into the landscape by appropriate design.

They can also bring significant environmental benefits such as habitat creation and wetland protection. Some may also be suitable for low impact recreational use as well.

They really are a win, win, win for our society, our economy and our environment.