Water curbs likely in East - Farmers Weekly

Subscribe and save

Farmers Weekly from £133
Saving £46
In print AND tablet

SUBSCRIBE NOW

sub_ad_img

Water curbs likely in East

27 March 1998
Water curbs likely in East

By Catherine Hughes

EAST Anglian farmers and growers face the prospect of water shortages again this summer following low winter rainfall for the third year running.

Those in Suffolk with abstraction licences are likely to be hit first and could be asked by the Environment Agency to enter voluntary water saving schemes from May.

Alan Hull, the EAs drought manager for the eastern area, said last years groundwater level was the lowest on record in the county. As a result, 107 farmers across Suffolk, growing mainly sugar beet, potatoes and carrots, were asked to cut by 50% the volume of water they abstracted.

Mr Hull said that was achieved. “Farmers do respond very well when we ask them to cut back (voluntarily), because the next step is an enforceable one which is more onerous.”

Restrictions in other areas will be inevitable if the summer is hot and dry, both to protect the environment and to allow the water to be shared out fairly, he added.

The EA has also warned all producers in the East Anglia region that the ongoing lack of adequate water reserves means the prospects for spray irrigation in the coming summer are “poor to moderate”.

Mr Hull said some farmers had responded by installing winter reservoirs. Although they represented a huge investment, storing winter rainfall did guarantee the farmers had a water supply.

Such guarantees are now a requirement before some supermarkets will issue contracts with growers in the region.

Following a meeting late last week between farmer representatives and the EA, Country Landowners Association officials in the region confirmed that unless there was a significant amount of rain between now and June then water restrictions across East Anglia were highly likely.

  • For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 27 March-2 April, 1998

  • Click here to subscribe to Farmers Weekly

    • Read more on:
    • News

    Water curbs likely in East

    27 March 1998

    Water curbs likely in East

    EAST Anglian farmers and growers face the prospect of water shortages again this summer following low winter rainfall for the third year running.

    Those in Suffolk with abstraction licences are likely to be hit first and could be asked by the Environment Agency to enter voluntary water saving schemes from May.

    Alan Hull, the EAs drought manager for the eastern area, said last years ground water level was the lowest on record in the county. As a result, 107 farmers across Suffolk, growing mainly sugar beet, potatoes and carrots, were asked to cut by 50% the volume of water they abstracted.

    Mr Hull said that was achieved. "Farmers do respond very well when we ask them to cut back (voluntarily), because the next step is an enforceable one which is more onerous."

    Restrictions in other areas will be inevitable if the summer is hot and dry, both to protect the environment and to allow the water to be shared out fairly, he added.

    The EA has also warned all producers in the East Anglia region that the ongoing lack of adequate water reserves means the prospects for spray irrigation in the coming summer are "poor to moderate".

    Mr Hull said some farmers had responded by installing winter reservoirs. Although they represented a huge investment, storing winter rainfall did guarantee the farmers had a water supply.

    Such guarantees are now a requirement before some supermarkets will issue contracts with growers in the region.

    Following a meeting late last week between farmer representatives and the EA, Country Landowners Association officials in the region confirmed that unless there was a significant amount of rain between now and June then water restrictions across East Anglia were highly likely. &#42

    Spray irrigation prospects this summer for growers in East Anglia have been described by the Environment Agency as "poor to moderate".

      Read more on:
    • News
    blog comments powered by Disqus