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Getting a grip on Water

All of us are realising how vital this commodity is, but are we doing enough to look after it? The following is an extract from a CAAV e-Briefing dated 07/09/2023 by Jeremy Moody. I thought it would make interesting reading for you.

Rutland Water - the largest reservoir in England

Water supply is steadily becoming a critical issue in the United Kingdom with agriculture needing to look ahead and ensure both access to water and making the best use of it. Only last year, four Sussex councils were proposing water neutrality policies for housing development – that no more use should be made of water once houses are built than before – while, earlier this year, South East Water ceased to be able to supply parts of East Sussex for a while.

Agriculture’s reliance on water was highlighted by the impact of last year’s drought on grass growth. Farming’s answers naturally start with conserving water with reservoirs, preferably looking to buffer supplies between years not just within a year. We should now look beyond that to making the best use of the water we have, so least is lost by evaporation both in store and on application, minimising losses from reservoirs and improving irrigation efficiency, looking at technology and investment, to deliver the greatest effect in the field and the best value from resources. Away from such higher water use systems, improving soil organic matter, using mixed species pastures, cover crops, avoiding crusts and compaction can all help soil manage water better, retain nutrients, bring resilience to the farm and reduce run off and economic loss. We may look to crop varieties more tolerant of drought and come to see wetter, perhaps poorer, pastures as insurance for the driest years. Can rainwater be usefully harvested from larger building complexes?

Adaptation will be an increasing part of the agricultural valuer’s conversations with clients seeking appraisal and advice.

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