Field vegetable growers urged to provide "vital" data on water use

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is urging potato and field vegetable growers to complete a water usage survey.

Image: Becky Milne
Image: Becky Milne

The aim is to gain a clearer picture of how these sectors source irrigation water and how this could be affected by forthcoming changes in legislation covering water abstraction.

The changes are due to be implemented over the next four years, and AHDB's Horticulture and Potato divisions are concerned that growers in some areas may not have access to sufficient water to maintain and grow their businesses.

AHDB Potatoes board member and Suffolk potato and vegetable grower Bruce Kerr said: "Field vegetables and potatoes are where future legislation could have the most direct impact on business viability.

"It is vital we generate detailed data that reflects the wide range of crops, business types, geographical locations and ways of obtaining water. By building as clear an understanding as possible of our water use, this AHDB survey aims to provide an evidence base for policy makers."

AHDB Horticulture research and knowledge exchange manager Anne Stone added: "For the first time we hope to be able to quantify the typical net financial benefits of irrigation as a result of increased yield and improved product quality.

"I urge growers to take the time to complete our survey and play their part in ensuring that our industries are able to secure adequate access to water in the future."

Growers will be contacted directly over the next two months by sustainability consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment, with an online survey also due to go live in late January. All results will be anonymised.

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