4 August 2000
NFU urges farmers to help save water
by FWi staff
THE National Farmers Union has urged its members to complete a voluntary online survey aimed at working out how best to save more water.
Last month was the wettest July since 1993, according to the Met Office. But the NFU says pressure is increasing on farmers to use water more efficiently.
Union officials have helped set up a panel of experts, including academics and green groups to help farmers better manage their water needs.
An NFU survey of its 70,000 members to find out how farmers use water has been backed by the Environment Agency and conservation groups.
Michael Paske, chairman of the NFU parliamentary, land use and environment committee, said it was important that the questionnaire was completed.
I would urge members to complete this survey, he said. It will help us demonstrate how farmers and growers are managing water wisely.
Green groups have supported the initiative which they believe will protect farm businesses as well as wildlife habitats by making a better use of water.
Steven Bell, a river project manager for the World Wide Fund, said farm incomes as well as the environment could be boosted.
“Practical water audits will be a good tool to help farmers identify their use of water and how it impacts on the catchments they share.
Although agriculture uses only 2-5% of water supplies, most of it is used in the summer months a statistic which worries groups such as the RSPB.
Phil Burston, RSPB policy research officer, said: If farmers are using more water than necessary, then that might be damaging rivers and wildlife habitats.
Farmers completing the survey will be entered into a draw to win a bottle of whisky a drink the NFU describes as the water of life.