NFU launches water survey after driest spring

The amount of water farmers use on their land is set to be surveyed following the driest spring since records began.

The NFU is launching a water survey to find out how the resource is used on farms, as well as what farmers and growers do to conserve it.

The survey, which is carried out by the union every five years, also aims to find out how farmers’ water use could be affected by climate change.

According to the NFU, agriculture and horticulture accounts for only 3% of the total amount of water extracted in England and Wales.

The union hopes that collecting data on how use it will show what British farmers are doing to keep rivers and streams running, as well as uncovering any concerns they have towards future water security.

NFU water policy adviser Jenny Bashford said three unusually dry winters, followed by drought orders in parts of the country this spring, meant that farmers’ involvement in the survey was more important than ever.

“We want to know how much water farmers use, where it comes from, how they get it, what they do with it and if they’ve got enough,” she said.

“We want to know how their water habits have changed since our last survey, what their plans are for the future and about any concerns they have or barriers that are hindering their water use.”

Although the survey is aimed primarily at the NFU’s 55,000 members, the union is encouraging the wider industry to take part.

The survey will be available on the NFU website from Friday 29 July. Paper copies can be ordered by calling 02476 858896.

All completed questionnaires will be entered into a draw to win luxury hotel stays.