News | BAWAG | Broadland Agricultural Water Abstractors Group

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Farmers face ‘wake-up call’ on irrigation
Growers irrigating crops in East Anglia face major challenges, with water abstraction under pressure from the twin effects of a growing population and climate change.
Farmers must be allowed to play an active role in discussions about local water management, said Jamie Lockhart, chairman of the Broadland Agricultural Water Abstractors Group (Bawag).
Bawag represents more than 100 growers who irrigate arable and horticultural crops in the Broadland Rivers catchment area of east Norfolk.
Access to water would come under increased pressure from local development and housing growth, as well as greater environmental need due to climate change, said Mr Lockhart.
“It’s going to be increasingly important for the farming community to be actively involved in discussions about local water management,” he warned.
Bawag had a key role to play in finding ways for farmers to be part of the solution rather than the problem, added Mr Lockhart.
“The ‘nearly drought’ of 2012 was a real wake-up call for us.
“Before the rains came to get us out of jail, irrigated crop production on the farm faced a major water shortage which would have seriously hampered our crop production and profitability.”
As farm manager of Honingham Thorpe Farms, near Norwich, Mr Lockhart oversaw a major new reservoir project on the 2,430ha holding in the wake of 2012.
The farm took immediate steps to futureproof the business against water scarcity by installing a 45m gallon reservoir that came on stream a year later.
As well as managing the risk of water availability, the project allowed the farm to expand its potato production and move into growing onions.
But Mr Lockhart said the agricultural response to water shortages needed to be about much more than individual farmers building their own storage.
There was much to be done in getting a fair share of water for Norfolk farmers during proposed regulatory changes in the years ahead, he added.
“Agriculture needs to get much more involved in the strategic management of water across the whole Broadland area,” said Mr Lockhart.
Entry added: 17 Apr 2015
Nestle will be speaking at the ‘Producing, Processing and Packaging: Managing future water needs’ event on 9th March hosted by Agri-Tech East's 'Water for Agriculture' Special Interest Group in partnership with the Agritech Water Cluster (based at the University of East Anglia) and Anglian Water. Please contact Becky Dodds on
Entry added: 17 Feb 2015
The BAWAG AGM will be held on 4th February 2015 at 2pm at Anglia Farmers Ltd office. Speakers will include Rory Sanderson (EA) on River Basin Management Plan Consultation, Neil Punchard (Broads Authority) on Broads Catchment Partnership. Also in attendance Ian Pearson (EA Team Leader Environment Planning Specialist Restoring Sustainable Abstraction) and David Purdy (John Deere Irrigation Soil Moisture Monitoring)
Entry added: 31 Dec 2014
Would BAWAG Members please respond to the Catfield Fen Consultation by the 15th December the details can be found on the Catfield Fen tab on the left of the website. Thanks.
Entry added: 27 Nov 2014
BAWAG AGM 2pm 4/2/15 Anglia Farmers. Honingham Thorpe
Entry added: 18 Nov 2014
Catfield Licence Renewal. The Environment Agency has launched a public consultation (17 November) relating to two abstraction licence renewal applications submitted by a Norfolk farmer. The consultation will last for four weeks, closing on 15 December.
Entry added: 18 Nov 2014
The BAWAG committee had a meeting with Guy Smith the Vice President of the NFU yesterday to discuss the ongoing abstraction and licence renewal issues in the Broadland area. Paul Hammett the NFU water specialist was also in attendance.
Entry added: 10 Oct 2014
The consultation on Abstraction Reform ends on Friday the 28th March so please get your responses in by visiting:
Entry added: 18 Mar 2014
UKIA Conference on Precision Irrigation current progress and future challenges:Carolyn Hedley from Landcare Research, New Zealand gave a paper on managing soils for precision irrigation from her office in New Zealand at midnight!Simon Blackmore and Jim Monaghan from Harper Adams gave papers on Precision Agriculture and Maximising yield and quality respectively. This included the use of robotic tractors and automated computer controlled weeding!
Entry added: 08 Mar 2014
The Committee meetings for 2014 are:

Tuesday 6th May/
Tuesday 29th July/
Tuesday 11th November/

all at 10am, AF Honingham Thorpe.
Entry added: 14 Feb 2014
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