Farmers and growers renewing water abstraction licences could face a reduction in the volume of water they are licensed to take.
Before a farmer or grower can renew a licence in 2015, both the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) will examine whether the conditions of the licence comply with the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).
If the EA or NRW conclude that the current licence conditions pose a risk of environmental deterioration, the licence conditions can be tightened.
According to UK Irrigation Association Executive Secretary Melvyn Kay, this could have a ‘profound’ impact on growers, raising important questions about how to cope with drought, maximise productivity and plan for the future. It is estimated that more than 1,000 UK agri-firms depend on irrigation to supply supermarkets with fresh fruit and vegetables.