UK: Farmers must plan for drought says new group

A reservoir at the Euston Estate, Thetford.

A reservoir at the Euston Estate, Thetford.

A group created last year to look at problems associated with drought has issued a reminder to farmers during the current heat wave that they need to plan against the risk of water scarcity in future.

The ‘Water for Food’ group was created during the 2012 drought and its membership reflects a wide range of interests in how water is used for food production.

Its members include the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Country Land and Business Association, Central Association of Agricultural Valuers, Horticultural Trades Association. Cranfield University, the UK Irrigation Association, the Potato Council and the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA), together with the Environment Agency to represent regulatory and environmental interests.

The group has come up with a checklist for farmers at its meeting this week.

Paul Hammett, the NFU national water resources specialist who sits on the group said: “The Water for Food group is all about learning the lessons of the last drought and planning for the next one. Thanks to the unprecedented rainfall of past months, irrigators are going full throttle with few problems. But we hope that the group’s checklist will help farmers when they come to improving their water security in the longer term.”