Farmers urged to use water grants
Farmers are being encouraged to use more EU subsidies for water clean-up and conservation.
EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan said there is currently €2.2bn available to farmers under the bloc’s rural development programme and there is a new agricultural envelope in the EU’s €315bn fund for strategic investments, which funds major infrastructure.
He wants to link Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding to compliance with EU water rules and intends to start working with water commissioner Karmenu Vella to do that.
Farmers are the second-highest water users in the EU (after energy companies), with pollution from pesticides and fertilisers accounting for the poor status of water bodies in several countries, the European Commission said in a recent staff report.
Agriculture is the source of pollution affecting 90pc of river basin districts, according to the report and up to 40pc of water is being lost in some countries as a result of leakages in infrastructure.