Farming News - We need solutions not restrictions in water crisis, warns agricultural entrepreneur

We need solutions not restrictions in water crisis, warns agricultural entrepreneur

As Spain grapples with drought in February and UK farmers also fearing another tough year ahead, a veteran agritech entrepreneur has questioned the “short term” approach of continually rationing water and says new agricultural solutions are urgently needed to ensure we can continue to feed a hungry population.

Agriculture is the biggest consumer of water on earth and is, therefore, under constant scrutiny.

However, Peter Blezard of Engage Crop Solutions is challenging decision makers in Spain and around the world to focus on finding available solutions now that allow us to utilise more land for growing crops without using more water, rather than focus on imposing more stringent restrictions that will impact food production and raise food prices even more.

The world must produce 56% more food by 2050 to match population growth and Peter says stakeholders, investors and growers must look to new technology, data and AI, improved irrigation systems, new drought resistant crops and smarter crop input technologies to overcome the challenge.

Peter has worked for more than 25 years in agriculture across the globe but has been working to find a solution to the agricultural water crisis for the past decade.

He warns water is becoming a critical issue not just in Southern Europe and the Middle East, were water is dubbed the new “Blue Gold”, but in the UK and Northern Europe too.

He says: “The water situation in Catalonia and across Spain is critical but this crisis has been growing for years. It’s an issue that is being seen not just in arid regions of the world, but in every country as record temperatures challenge everyone to look at water use. Water impacts us all, both socially and economically.

“Spanish growers already face restrictions on how much water they can draw but the new proposed restrictions are going to severely impact their ability to produce food. This is a short-term solution that will impact food prices across the country and around the world.

“Obviously, we have to increase and maintain agricultural production to feed the growing population but that will come at a heavy cost to our water reserves, even if extraction of water is allowed.

“Many countries are already predicted to run out of fresh water and Spain is also watching its reserves drain away.

“Too much of what we see is focused on the problem, but we must now turn our attention to finding solutions. There isn’t one simple fix, but we must adopt a range of new technologies to make much more efficient use of water in agriculture.

“Growers must produce more food and that means they need to unlock more land for agriculture. However, the key to doing that is making sure they don’t use any more water.”

Engage Crop Solutions produces a key water saving technology called Aqualatus that allows growers to cut their water use by half while still maintaining crop quality, and this is already being used by a number of growers in Spain and around the world.

Aqualatus has been used for several years in Almeria and is proven, sustainable, environmentally friendly and is ensuring growers can remain productive and profitable during the water storage crisis.

Alfredo Garcia is a director and technical manager of Agroliner Agricultura Avanzada and supplies CASI, the largest tomato growing group in Europe with Aqualatus. He says the technology is transforming growing in hot climates.

He explains: “In these conditions, Aqualatus is saving up to 30%-50% of water, electricity and fertilizers, which means that, because we have a monthly water expense per hectare of between $2,750 and $3,045, if we save up 30%-50%, the farmer can save up to $990 and $1,650 in water per hectare a month.”

With Aqualatus, some growers are reporting up to 65% savings in water use while still seeing yield increases and a trial with the Municipality of Dubai proved the city could save as much as $152m (560 million dirham) a year when they used Aqualatus in irrigation systems for landscaped areas.

Aqualatus is easily applied to existing irrigation systems and is a sophisticated blend of liquid polymers which contain billions of microscopic structures (micelles)  that adhere to soil particles and slow the gravitational movement of water and promotes lateral movement, thereby increasing the moisture-holding capacity of the soil and also improving soil quality.

Surface runoff and evaporation are almost completely eradicated and gravitational movement is dramatically slowed. Reducing this natural water loss allows for irrigation volumes to be much lower and timings to be shorter as the soil is more retentive, giving growers a great return on investment.

For more information about Aqualatus or to learn how it can benefit your growing operations, contact Peter Blezard at or visit