WATER issues on farms need to be taken seriously by the government says the National Farmers’ Union.

At trade event Floodex/Irrigex, which focuses around maintaining flood defence, prevention mitigation and drainage, NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts gave a presentation in which he highlighted how farming had recently been impacted by not only unpredictable weather events, but also the importance of internal drainage boards (IDB).

In his speech Mr Roberts said: “Farmers bear the brunt of the impacts of extreme weather, its uncertainty and volatility.

“It’s not just a severe lack of water like we experienced during last summer’s agricultural drought, but the flooding of agricultural land leading to a loss of crops and animals. Events like these expose the vulnerability of the farming sector.

“Farmers can be part of the solution and through internal drainage boards, created to manage intricate draining systems, help land flourish for agriculture, the environment and the communities that live there.”

Mr Roberts pressed that the importance of IDBs for the industry should not be underestimated, and that further funding should be issued to ensure the future protection of farms and farmer’s livelihoods through IDBs.

“The government has stated that 2019 is the year of green action. But what about blue?” Mr Roberts continued.

“We really must start taking water-related issues seriously in order to safeguard this essential resource for the future and to protect productive farmland from predicted rises in sea level and increasingly frequent flooding.

“The lessons learned clearly identify what policies need to be in place to provide a clean water supply, ensure the future of the environment and deliver food security.”