Farmers To Face Water Restrictions This Summer?
Farmers who use water for irrigation in certain parts of the UK could well find that they’re faced with water restrictions come the summer, as a result of a lack of significant rainfall and some unseasonably warm weather.
Water specialist with the National Farmers Union Paul Hammett explained that, while wet and windy weather is expected to come over the next couple days which could prove helpful, some farmers could potentially run out of the water necessary to grow food, Farmers Weekly reports.
The Environment Agency has published its latest forecast which suggests that there are moderation to poor irrigation prospects in parts of East Anglia and the Midlands, with other areas facing moderate prospects. Only the south-east of the country is classed as good in this regard.
Senior adviser with the agency Bob Hillier was quoted by the news source as saying: “We have been working with farmers to increase flexibility with abstraction where possible. If there is a lack of available water, we are willing to review the situation – but it is important that we abide by the standards in place to protect the environment and other abstractors.”
The Environment Agency has announced that it will be extending the winter fill period until April this year, a move welcomed by Association of Drainage Authorities chairman Robert Cauldwell who said it was a useful first step to help those in the agriculture industry with storage facilities.
He did go on to add, however, that there are many farmers who are only summer abstractors and they’re the ones wondering where the water is going to come from.
The Environment Agency is now advising farmers looking to abstract additional quantities of water, including anyone intending to refill winter storage reservoirs, to get in touch with them sooner rather than later.
This follows the publication of a new report suggesting that British-grown fruit and veg is now being put at risk because of climate change meaning that extreme and unpredictable weather is becoming more likely.
Farming groups are now issuing warnings that consumers should expect to see smaller and fewer popular vegetables, like onions, carrots, potatoes, leeks and carrots because of the cold spring and heatwave that we saw last year, with both combined limited crop growth.
You may have already noticed that your chips are slightly shorter than they used to be – apparently, the lack of water combined with the extreme heat we saw in 2018 cut over an inch off the size of the average chip.
The Climate Coalition and the Priestley International Centre for Climate report revealed that fruit and veg farmers in the UK have found climate extremes in the last few years very