Effective water management essential, Norfolk farmers told

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Farmers and landowners in Norfolk are being urged to manage water as effectively as possible after it was confirmed that last year was the one of the warmest on record.

Data released by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and the Met Office last week revealed that last year was 0.56C above the long-term average and was the joint warmest year on record with 2010. The Met Office added that there was a “clear warming trend” relating to global climate.

CLA East Regional Director Ben Underwood said: “The news comes as no surprise, and means the effective management of water will be high on the agenda for farmers and landowners in Norfolk and across East Anglia not just this year, but for the long term.

“They will want to have more control and be able to conserve it effectively for the benefit of agriculture and nature. Long periods of drought and high temperatures will lead to a reduction in summer river flows, severely restricting the availability of water for food production, which would have a devastating economic impact on agricultural businesses.

“It is therefore obvious that to better manage water resources greater collaboration between the Government and its agencies, and farmers and landowners is required.

“It needs to be easier to build a reservoir, as they can help ensure crops are irrigated throughout the worst droughts. They are an essential part of the farmer’s toolkit for securing water and from an ecosystem services perspective they also provide storage in times of flooding.”