Sustainable use of water in agriculture: the LIFE BEWARE project works hand in hand with farmers!

Is dealing with water in agriculture as easy as drinking a glass of water? Unfortunately, it is not! For this reason, Veneto Agricoltura, the Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF) of Padua University and the Brenta Land Reclamation Consortium organized a series of meeting with the Italian Agricultural Associations (Coldiretti, Confagricoltura and CIA) to open a dialogue and focus on the subject.

In the first two meetings, held in April and June within the LIFE BEWARE project, the themes of water management and irrigation were discussed.  Although the topic is very complex and it would require a high number of meetings involving several experts, in a short time the participants highlighted the most urgent issues. This process will result in a shared document that will be presented to technical and political bodies, both at a regional and European level. The objective is to include water issues in the next agricultural policies applying a bottom-up approach which considers the territorial specificities.

Any examples of the complexity of the issue?

Is it better to have an efficient irrigation system, using km of plastic pipes (with a strong energy footprint), or to let water flow in canals, boosting the presence of ecological niches that are disappearing from our countryside?

As consumers, are we aware that buying the cheapest meat implies a greater use of water in agriculture? In this case, the answer is simple, although the problem remains complex: cheap meat imposes the choice of cheap animal nutrition, thus using cereals such as maize, which at the same time are huge consumers of water.

With these two examples, we understand how complex the world that farmers face every day is. During the recent pandemic, we have realised that farmers are the real heroes who ensure that food is on our tables every day. For this reason, we cannot forget that, at the same time, they are the guardians of an area that is increasingly in danger due to climate change.

Nature is the realm of complexity, and everything must be well thought, putting costs, benefits and knowledge on the balance. LIFE BEWARE project is working to raise awareness and increase citizens’ knowledge about environmental issues. If we follow this path, we will all be a little more informed, and ready to navigate in safe waters.

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