This briefing note looks at the effects of water scarcity and drought on crops which require supplemental irrigation, and includes some ideas on steps which may help to mitigate losses to farmers. This is the first of a series of briefs to support improved decision making in relation to droughts and water scarcity.
We are currently experiencing a heatwave in the UK and other parts of Europe – with a hosepipe ban in place in Ireland. Climatic change causes greater unreliability of rainfall in wetter countries like the UK, as well as increased frequency of droughts, leading to higher demand for irrigation to supplement rainfall. The yield and quality of crops of fruit and vegetables can be lowered by short-term drought in the UK summer – this can be avoided by using irrigation to supplement rainfall, enabling farmers to continue to provide supermarket-quality produce.