Brexit is over-shadowing many of our immediate concerns about agro-economic policy, water regulation, licensing, and the future of the WFD. So, this year we are focusing our spring conference on the ‘big picture.’ Will we have enough water in the future? How will droughts impact irrigation? What does Defra’s 25-year plan for the environment mean for irrigation? Do we need a similar plan for water for food? There is no doubt, if we want answers, farmers, water and energy utilities, and environmental groups will need to work together both to secure and manage our future water resources.
We can no longer afford to keep thinking in ‘silos’ (agriculture, domestic, environment, energy). We need to think in terms of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). This is the main topic of discussion across the water world as the way of allocating limited water resources. Most countries accept this approach but few have put it into practice. The UK is 'ahead of the game' with Water Resources East (WRE): a multi-sector partnership bringing together, water supply, irrigation, industry, the environment, and amenity to look seriously at our future water needs.
Come and hear about progress and plans from leading practitioners engaged in WRE and from our special guest from the USA who has first-hand experience of negotiating and putting IWRM into practice. We may even touch on BREXIT! This too may well have long lasting impacts on irrigated farming.
For those farming outside the eastern region, take this opportunity to see what might be done in your region. Already there is a similar initiative in the south east: Water Resources South East.
This conference is for farmers and growers who irrigate, consultants, suppliers, researchers, and government agencies who want to make sure that agriculture gets a fair share of UK water resources.
Steve Moncaster Anglian Water: Steve leads the WRE project and brings experiences from the USA.
David Matthews G&D Matthews Ltd: David is a WRE stakeholder farming in Lincolnshire and brings a farming perspective.
Jerry Knox Cranfield University: Jerry leads the agricultural component of WRE and will explain how irrigated agriculture is being integrated into this multi-sector assessment.
Innes Thomson ADA: ‘Water, water, everywhere but not a drop for irrigation'? Innes brings an Internal Drainage Board (IDB) perspective to WRE
Paul Leinster Cranfield University and ex CEO Environment Agency: the aquatic environment and IWRM. Connecting irrigation with Defra’s 25-year plan for the environment.
Special guest: Thomas Tebb Office of Colombia River, Washington State USA:
Brings a wealth of first-hand experiences of working together to resolve water agricultural and environmental conflicts in the Yakima River basin
Jeremy Wiltshire Ricardo: Results of the 2016 AHDB Irrigation survey and what we need to secure future water for food
James Dodds Envireau Water: Gathering abstraction data and taking responsibility for your irrigation licensing investments
Joe Morris Agricultural economics consultant: BREXIT: Irrigation under more uncertainty?