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Producing and Processing

Are you a grower, food processor or packer already planning for a future of reduced availability and increased costs of water? Have you already made changes within your business to reduce your reduce water use?

The ‘Producing, Processing and Packaging; Managing future water needs’ workshop was held on 9 March 2015 in Wisbech.

This workshop ran under the banner of Agri-Tech East’s Water for Agriculture Special Interest Group and in partnership with Anglian Water. This workshop investigated the issues of competing over a resource which is critical for every individual and many businesses in the UK. How will the water needs in our region change over time and how will we prepare for changing water availability in the future? These are some of the questions we are trying to answer.

A key driver for sustainable agriculture is increasing the efficiency of water use as it is used at every step in the agri-food chain, not only for growing food crops, but also in the downstream processing and packing of products on their way to consumers. Martin Collison (Collison Associates) highlighted the importance of the food sector, the UK’s largest manufacturing and retail sector (Presentation available: MartinCollison_9March2015).

After initial discussions, an emphasis was placed on linking water quality and quantity issues through a talk by Andy Brown at Anglian Water (Presentation available: AndyBrown_9March2015 ) and also the role that climate variability plays and the impact of extreme events by Timothy Osborn (Presentation available: TimOsborn_9March2015).

There are some great examples where agri-food businesses are working to improve their water efficiency, and this workshop helped identify what else you need to know to plan ahead and reduce your risks and costs around water use.

To summarize the event, a document has been produced with the key points raised during the discussions, available here:  Managing Future Water Needs Workshop (opens pdf file)

For more information please contact Ruth on agritechwatercluster@uea.ac.uk or 01603 591384.

Photo credit: color line on Flickr