Water planning will clash with farming and wildlife, consultancy predicts

Water resource planning issues will clash with environmental legislation; dramatic increases in winter rainfall and even greater decreases in summer rainfall will force farmers to introduce wetlands and new water management techniques; and water shortages and hosepipe bans will become regular annual events.

These are just a few of the predictions made by consultancy firm ADAS for the year 2040 as part of their Blue Sky 35 campaign.

Although water issues dominate the agenda, the news is not all bad. The firm predicts that the Water Framework Directive will be completed in 2027 at a significantly higher cost than anticipated but resulting in almost pristine water supplies throughout the EU.

Meanwhile, research stemming from this switch in emphasis to the ecological status of water will render current estimations of pollutant levels as insufficient and a much broader strategy centring on the ecology of catchment areas will result.

At the same time a combination of new crop varieties, better farming practices and the improved use of inorganic and organic fertilisers will have cut nutrient pollution from agriculture to virtually zero.

The campaign predictions coincide with the company's 35th anniversary. Steve Collier, ADAS Chief Executive said: "We have had enormous fun with these predictions - some of which push current thinking and knowledge to the limits. But, the results are hard-hitting in that they not only allow us to visualise how the world might look in 2040, they also enable us to start preparing for scenarios which will impact our clients on a national and international scale."

By David Hopkins




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