Vital for all known forms of life and yet an increasingly scarce resource that must be protected, the efficient use of water is a key policy for governments and CSR issue for retailers and producers alike.

NIAB EMR’s science is leading efficient water use across fruit, vegetable and ornamental crops in both protected and outdoor cropping situations, in the UK and worldwide. This work for the EU, UK government, water authorities, retailers and growers, is looking at the application of in-plant sensing that detect physiological responses from the plant. Already producing up to 80% reductions in water use under laboratory conditions, the team are facilitating a 30-40% saving across many commercial cropping situations.

Further work by NIAB EMR scientists focuses on understanding the genetic basis of drought tolerance, while other research is assessing the impact of these novel irrigation regimes on the incidences of both pests and diseases.

NIAB EMR’s international irrigation work, primarily in Africa, is underpinning social, tourism and environmental activities as greater efficiencies mitigate any potential impact of local water abstraction on communities.

Contact: Mark Else

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