Farming News - Precious resources such as water need protection now

Precious resources such as water need protection now

17 Dec 2018
Frontdesk / Finance

Increasing population and rising temperatures are putting pressure on natural resources and farmers and landowners will face additional challenges in the years ahead to protect  precious assets such as water, the life blood of the industry.

“While Brexit is occupying our mind at the moment, water and soil management will be the big challenges ahead, whether we are in or out of the EU,” said chartered surveyor Philip Meade of Davis Meade Property Consultants at Oswestry.

And at a recent conference on Water, RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) called on government, industry and business to collaboratively approach the challenges of flooding and the management of water supplies to reduce flooding and  future proof water supplies.

 “Farmers have a vital role to play to help prevent flooding and water loss,” said Mr Meade, one of the 200 surveying professionals at the inaugural RICS Water Conference held in November.

Located mainly in rural areas, RICS recommends possible flood prevention methods including: 

  • tree planting in uplands to act as a buffer and slow down the flow of water
  • managing and storing water through the creation of ponds and ditches
  • increasing soil infiltration, through planting spongey bog moss. 

Martin McAuley, RICS Policy Manager, highlighted the need for  the UK to manage water close to the point of source and not try and stop it when it’s too late.

“Rural landowners can help divert and slow floodwater, and help build future resources, but need support to do so. As part of the shift to a new regime of farm payment schemes and an increased focus on public goods, RICS highlights the role that land managers can play in the prevention and mitigation of serious flooding incidents,”  Mr McAuley said.

It was clear from the conference that the implications of increasing environment responsibility will affect land values in the future Philip Meade said.

“Increasingly, as we, chartered surveyors value land, albeit for purchase, occupation or  letting, we will have to take into consideration environmental risks,” he said.

“Water, for example, can be an asset and a liability. Values might increase if there is water on a property than can be used for livestock or irrigation but also decrease if there is an increased risk of flooding, particularly with global warming making things likely to get worse rather than better.”

But there are opportunities too for farmers and land managers in terms of potentially being paid for hosting flood defence mechanisms on their land to divert a problem from a town or city.

A key message from RICS’ Water Conference was that without the management of water now, the UK could see the supply of water failing to keep up with growing demand, impacting UK daily life and social problems, including the housing crisis. 

For more information contact Philip Meade at DMPC, Oswestry on 01691 659658 or email