Category Archives: Water

water-supply-irrigation-direct drilling

If it is like this on top, what is it like deep down? Much of the crps in the South east and East Anglia depend on extraction from rivers and boreholes. there really is a question of how long this can be sustained.

On 24 August 2017m the Water Resources Institute published a piece on their website looking at “7 Reasons We’re Facing a Global Water Crisis” in a piece written by Leah Schleifer.  With credit to them, I try here to relate those lessons to British farming and maybe farming elsewhere in developed counties that do not really think water may be a significant economic problem sooner rather than later.

 

Reason 3. Groundwater Is Being Depleted.

About 30 percent of Earth’s fresh water lies deep underground in aquifers.

The south east of England is an area of particular concern. It is a highly populated area with relatively low annual rainfall. As a result, the supply of water in the south east of England is limited. Some parts have less usable water per person than countries such as Syria.  Generally, the water level in the aquifers in the chalk areas of the UK are experiencing falling.   The falling level of water near our bore-holes is not going to be helped by more rainfall because high intensity rain tends to run off into the rivers and to sea.

Conservation farming action;

  1. Increase soil organic matter and reduce cultivations.
  2. Trees are a mixed water-blessing; they will reduce water run-off and reduce flash-flooding lower down, and they will respire around 50 % more than a cereal crop.
  3. Look for crops that need less water or are deep-rooted (such as forage maize instead of grass).

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  September 17

 

More People means more water

There is a real question about global and UK population. It is not about race, it is about numbers.

 

On 24 August 2017m the Water Resources Institute published a piece on their website looking at “7 Reasons We’re Facing a Global Water Crisis” in a piece written by Leah Schleifer.  With credit to them, I try here to relate those lessons to British farming and maybe farming elsewhere in developed counties that do not really think water may be a significant economic problem sooner rather than later.

 

Reason 2. More People + More Money = More Water Demand.

The Yorkshire Post reports that: “There has been a net loss nationally of 7,000 hectares of agricultural land in the UK between 2006 and 2012”. The Guardian has reported that: “Earth has lost a third of arable land in past 40 years”. There is an insidious water consumption in the UK.  While our own water consumption is rising with population growth (net plus 0.5 million people in 2016!) and what we each spend is continually, our consumption of “virtual water” (i.e. that which is involved with production overseas of what we import) is 30 times as much as UK water used, and the WWF reports that; “Taking virtual water into account, each of us soaks up 4,645 litres a day”.  That makes us the 6th largest water importer in the world.

Yes, there is a looming crisis.

Conservation farming action;

  1. Build water storage if you can. (There is some useful USA experience in building dams using old tyres.)
  2. Harvest water from roofs and concrete.
  3. Subsoil to allow roots to go deeper and move to reduced tillage – develop understanding and skills in direct drilling (or what is otherwise called “zero till”).

 

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  September 17

 

Global Food Shortages and Water Supply

Courtesy of “The Furrow” (John Deere) this shows global farmed area shrinking and population exploding. Now ad water and forests. This is dynamite.

It is worth clicking on the link (WRI – the World Researches Institute) below for a clear view of how forests affect our water supply.  The authors point out that “The world’s major watersheds lost 6 percent of their tree cover on average from 2000-2014. Today, about 31 percent of the world’s watershed area is covered by forests.”

http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/03/3-surprising-ways-water-depends-healthy-forests?utm_campaign=wridigest&utm_source=wridigest-2017-03-21&utm_medium=email&utm_content=learnmore

The problem is a tension between the facts they point out and the needs of an expanding global population to have food, energy and occupy land. The tension between the two is an exponential curve related to population growth.  Something will give.  Unless, that is, we control population growth and very urgently.

Click here for an expansion of this discussion, and what to do about it,

Land Research   12 May 2017

Farming, Brexit and Le Pen

A major reason for Le Pen’s capture of a third of the vote was immigration. Can Macron manage immigration and population growth?

Water is the link between farming and immigration as a major issue connected with Brexit and Marine Le Pen. It is worth clicking on the link below (WRI – the World Researches Institute) for a clear view of how forests affect our water supply.  The authors point out that “The world’s major watersheds lost 6 percent of their tree cover on average from 2000-2014. Today, about 31 percent of the world’s watershed area is covered by forests.”

http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/03/3-surprising-ways-water-depends-healthy-forests?utm_campaign=wridigest&utm_source=wridigest-2017-03-21&utm_medium=email&utm_content=learnmore

The problem is a tension between the facts they point out and the needs of an expanding global population to have food, energy and occupy land. The tension between the two is an exponential curve related to population growth.  Something will give.  Unless, that is, we control population growth and very urgently.

Land Research   8 May 2017

Survival, Water & Farming

Farming, food production and water are not only global issues, they are already significant in the UK’s green and pleasant land.

I took this picture earlier this evening, on the top of chalk downs near Devizes in Wiltshire. What happened to April showers? The spring-sown crops are struggling.  Whatever Donald Trump says, the climate is changing and there are visible consequences.

Read about these issues. Put “Survival Bill Butterworth Amazon” into your search engine or try Kindle instead of Amazon.  The book is free to download for the next 4 Sundays – 16, 23, 30 April and & May.and not much to buy anytime.  The paperback version is OK to read but if you download, it is better on a big screen because of some of the tables and diagrams.

Land Research Ltd, 13 April 2017