Neighbouring farmers able to trade water to cope with drought

A new online service to match nearby farmers and growers with urgently needed water supplies has been launched by the National Farmers' Union (NFU).

The National Farmers' Union has opened an online Water Bank to help farmers trade surplus water because the hot, dry weather has left some close to using up all of their water abstraction allowances. Picture: Thames Water/PA Wire.

Union vice president Stuart Roberts said the Water Bank will help unlock access to much needed water for farmers who are quickly running out of water for fruit and veg crops.

The service has been launched following an appeal by the NFU to the Environment Agency at last week’s agricultural drought summit. It allows water to be traded locally. Donors and recipients must operate within the same hydrological area to trade surplus supplies.

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Farmers must comply with water abstraction limits but some are close to using up their annual allowances. Livestock farmers rely on drinking water from abstracted sources and growers for watering crops.

Mr Roberts, who farms in Hertfordshire, said the bank would act as a web-based noticeboard.

“We will keep looking for solutions that help alleviate the pressures that are building on the farming industry caused by this agricultural drought,” the union official said.