New ECA report shows how agriculture negatively impact the quantitative status of water
The European Court of Auditors recently published the report “Sustainable water use in agriculture: CAP funds more likely to promote greater rather than more efficient water use” to assess the impact of agriculture on the quantitative status of water.
Agriculture affects both water quality and water quantity. Diffuse pollution from fertilisers or pesticide reduce water quality whereas water abstraction in coastal areas can cause saltwater intrusion in the groundwater.
Agriculture depends on water availability. Irrigation helps to shield farmers from irregular rainfall, and to increase the viability, yield and quality of the crops, but is a significant drain on water resources. While around 6 % of EU farmland was irrigated in 2016, the sector was responsible for 24 % of all water abstraction.
As agriculture is both a major user of freshwater and one of the first sectors to be impacted when water is scarce, they assessed to what extent EU policies, namely the CAP and water policy, promote the sustainable use of water in agriculture.