The Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, has suggested that water could be diverted away from golf courses as farmers warn that food prices may be about to rise due to the drought predicted this summer. This is not good news considering the restaurant and food industries are already struggling with the economic downturn. They have already had to resist the increased cost of restaurant insurance, cost of hiring staff and other factors like the increased cost of supplies.
The President of the National Farmers Union, Peter Kendall has said that with the drought in the South East and Anglia still on going prices, will be forced to make up for the lack of produce. He stated “As sure as night follows day if it doesn’t rain, food prices will go up. I can guarantee you that. If there is less water across bigger areas of northern Europe food will cost more money.” As well as the South, the Midlands have also been warned about being at risk of drought.
In order to avoid a drought we need 120 percent of rain between now and March, however, the Met Office predicts a dry spell.
In the past, according to Peter Kendall, farmers had been ignored during a drought. This was shown when golf courses were still being watered but farmers were told they couldn’t irrigate their crops.
Caroline Spelman also agreed that farming should be top priority in a drought. She said “The most important thing we can do it catch the water when it comes. Water capture and storage is the key to building resilience, not just for agriculture, for everyone in the country.”
One solution to this used to be tax relief to business that built reservoirs, however the Treasury has made the decision reverse this which is not an incentive for farmers to store water, even though this water could mean that their produce will survive over the summer.
The fear is that this lack of water is going to become normal due to the recent history of dry winters caused by climate change. A solution to this could be genetically modified crops.