SAVED: PAGE: ACTIVE AREA:

World Water Day 2023: Be The Change

For the first time last year, SEPA suspended abstraction licences for growers in the east and south of Scotland. This stark response to a prolonged period of dry weather highlights the impacts of a changing climate. And the pressures it can bring on farm businesses. This year’s World Water Day campaign is called ‘Be the Change’ and encourages people to take action in their own lives to change the way they use, consume and manage water. 

We encourage our members to heed that message and start thinking about water use on farm, to plan for the coming summer season. This will ensure businesses can remain resilient at all times of the year. 

  • Scheduling water abstractions: Informal arrangements between operators in catchments already work well in Scotland. Agreeing with other growers in your area on who can abstract on certain days/times can maximise the benefits and reduce pressure on the water resource. 
  • Optimising production schedules: You should optimise use of irrigation water by monitoring weather forecasts, soil moisture details and crop growth stage by using irrigation scheduling techniques. Where water supplies are used intermittently there may be scope to amend production dates to avoid periods where the resource is under stress. It’s important to always follow conditions in your abstraction permit. 
  • Alternative sources: Surface water abstractions were suspended by SEPA in some areas last year. But groundwater was largely unaffected. Groundwater can provide a reliable supply of water when surface water resources are under pressure. Have you considered a borehole? Contacting SEPA will help decide whether this is the right step for your farm business.
  • Water storage: Having extra capacity to harvest water during periods of heavy rainfall is a good way to reduce the pressure when water is in short supply. Many water efficiency options will require some investment, but there may be funding available. The current agri-environment climate scheme round has an option for irrigation lagoons .

“For the first time last year, SEPA suspended abstraction licences for some growers in the east and south of Scotland. With our climate changing and increased volatility in weather patterns, it's likely situations like this could happen again. We're encouraging members to think ahead about their water use to ensure farmers are resilient to the impacts of prolonged dry conditions.” - Sarah Cowie, Enviornmental Resources Policy Manager at NFU Scotland.

We are working with SEPA, Farming & Water Scotland, and others to emphasise the importance of water efficiency measures to the farming community. Thinking ahead builds business resilience, ensures your business does not face disruption during prolonged dry conditions, and can also save you money. Further information on water efficiency measures can be found on the Farm Advisory Service, NetRegs, and Farming & Water Scotland websites. SEPA also publishes a water scarcity situation report, which is published weekly during the summer season. 

Author: Sarah Cowie

Date Published:


< Article List

Close

Report Abusive Comment

Comment Content:

Why it offends me (optional):



Have Your Say

No-one has commented on this article yet. Be the first to have your say...

New Comment

Share

Total Pages:
Total Results:
Page Start:
Page Result #:

About The Author

Sarah Cowie

Sarah Cowie graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2012 and started her career at Scottish Enterprise, where she held roles in renewable energy and IP development. Following this she joined political monitoring company Newsdirect, where she was responsible for a wide range of clients in the environmental and agricultural sector. She joined NFU Scotland in 2021 as environmental resources policy manager and is responsible for the implementation and content of environmental regulation and legislation including Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, pollution prevention and control, waste, flooding, air quality and biodiversity.

Quick Contact

 
 
Which Region do you live in?  
Are you a member of NFU Scotland?  
 
 

This form collects and sends the information supplied to NFU Scotland. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having NFU Scotland collect the above details.

Registred Address

NFU Scotland
Head Office
Rural Centre - West Mains
Ingliston, Midlothian
EH28 8LT

Place of registration: Scotland

Company Registration Number: SC214564

Tel: 0131 472 4000
Email: info@nfus.org.uk

NFU Mutual Logo

Get the App

NFUS App QR Code

©NFU Scotland • All Rights Reserved • Web design by Big Red DigitalLog in

Close

Contact Us

 

 

 

No Robots:

This form collects and sends the information supplied to NFU Scotland. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having NFU Scotland collect the above details.