The Importance of Water Management

This post is by Louise Manning on LEAF’s Water Management Tool, which will be launched at our upcoming President’s Event next week

Water, together with soil, are the underpinning assets of any land based business. Access to water is becoming increasingly important for farmers especially when their farm businesses incorporate irrigated rather than rain-fed farm enterprises. The trend towards reducing diffuse water pollution and also adopting environmental schemes, such as the Higher Level Scheme, has also been a driver towards spring planting where soil moisture content is critical.

Louise Manning ... "Access to water is becoming increasingly important for farmers"

With this in mind, LEAF has developed its Water Management Tool to assist farmers to consider their current practices in managing water as a resource and whether there are opportunities to reduce their environmental footprint, drive business opportunities and save money at the same time. Many of these measures are simple, such as installing water meters or checking for leaks. Others are more complex so the tool is of use to businesses both at the start of considering their water use and those who already have more sophisticated controls in place.

LEAF’s Water Management Tool allows farmers, not only to measure their business water footprint in terms of water used per tonne of finished product, but also the colour spectrum of their water footprint in terms of rainwater stored in the soil as moisture (green water), surface and ground water (blue water) and reused or recycled water (grey water). The quality of the water the business is using in terms of chemical and microbiological standards will also affect the types of crops that can be grown on the farm and ultimately the productive and financial capacity of the business.

About the Author

Dr Louise Manning has a PhD in global food production and is a 2007 Nuffield Scholar. Her scholarship study was on global water policy and its impact on food production. Louise has worked in the food supply chain for twenty five years. Louise can be contacted at


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