We need solutions not restrictions in water crisis, warns agricultural entrepreneur

Agriculture is the biggest consumer of water on earth and is, therefore, under constant scrutiny.

However, Peter Blezard of Engage Crop Solutions is challenging decision makers in Spain and around the world to focus on finding available solutions now that allow us to utilise more land for growing crops without using more water, rather than focus on imposing more stringent restrictions that will impact food production and raise food prices even more.

He warned water is becoming a critical issue not just in Southern Europe and the Middle East, where water is dubbed the new “Blue Gold”, but in the UK and Northern Europe too.

“The water situation in Catalonia and across Spain is critical but this crisis has been growing for years,” he said. “It’s an issue that is being seen not just in arid regions of the world, but in every country as record temperatures challenge everyone to look at water use. Water impacts us all, both socially and economically.”

Spanish growers, for example, face restrictions on how much water they can draw. All growers in Spain are restricted on how much they water they can draw from aquifers but the Government have threatened to cut the amount of water they are permitted to use by 80%.

Engage Crop Solutions founder and director Peter Blezard has been involved with the agricultural industry since 2000

The Government has backtracked a little on this following protests​. But according to Blezard, the reality is that there isn’t enough water for the scale of growing across all of Spain. Agriculture accounts for 80.4% of water use in Spain and 25% of all fruit and vegetables produced in the EU are grown in Spain. These proposed restrictions are going to severely impact their ability to produce food, he warned. “This is a short-term solution that will impact food prices across the country and around the world. Obviously, we have to increase and maintain agricultural production to feed the growing population but that will come at a heavy cost to our water reserves, even if extraction of water is allowed.”