Smart Farming has launched updated water guidance, to support farmers work in improving water quality and reducing the risk of penalties.

The resource efficiency programme is run by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Under the newly updated guidance two aspects are focused on, namely water conservation and protecting water quality.

On water conservation, it encourages farmers to:
  • Understand current water use, by studying the water bills;
  • Locate and fix leaks to save money; and
  • Reduce use by recycling water.

Meanwhile, regarding protecting water quality, the guidance document encourages farmers to:

  • Think about how the farmyard is “plumbed” to the local stream;
  • Take specific actions to reduce risks of water pollution and subsequent penalties; and
  • Ensure that there is good drinking water quality, by properly constructing wells.

Smart Farming programme leader and IFA environment chairman Thomas Cooney commented on the updated guidance.

“Farmers are the custodians of the rural environment and their increasing participation in the voluntary Smart Farming programme demonstrates their willingness and desire to focus on both improving their farm returns while enhancing the rural environment.

“I believe this updated water guidance will help farmers achieve these two objectives,” he added.

Mary Frances Rochford, EPA programme manager in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability, also spoke about the guidelines, adding:

“We must do more to halt deterioration in water quality so that we protect this most precious public resource.

Smart Farming plays an important role in addressing water conservation and water quality in the farming sector. Successful implementation of the measures need wide and willing take-up by the farming community.

Catherine Seale-Duggan from the Local Authority Waters Programme welcomed the additional information provided on water protection and conservation, noting that farming is essential for maintaining and improving water quality.