More than half of the surface of Limburg is currently used for agriculture. And agriculture can do nothing without water. Plants grow and sweat (perspire) so that water vapor is released into the air, so that we eventually get precipitation again (on a global scale). But cows and chickens also need water, of course. In a warm and dry year all a bit more than usual. For example, in the years 2018 to 2020, 50 million cubic meters of water (groundwater) was used in agriculture in Limburg. That is the same as all households in Limburg. In the past, agriculture was mainly concerned with ensuring that there was not too much water present. After all, if the groundwater was too high, the harvest could fail. That is why a large part of the agricultural land has been arranged in such a way that rainwater can be removed as quickly as possible. After three dry summers, we see that this causes extra drought and ultimately results in so much water use that streams are empty and the groundwater level can drop very far. In the past, about 25 million cubic meters of groundwater was pumped up in Limburg for agriculture, but in the last dry years there were double figures (of which 90% from April to September) while at the same time there was much less precipitation and therefore less replenishment. in the ground. Some of this water is used by the plants to grow, after which it transpires and ends up in the atmosphere. Another portion evaporates before it can be used or flows into the ground or into the stream. So a lot of water is lost on the way to the plants and animals. And if it gets too dry, the Water Board can prohibit the use of surface water for agriculture. And possibly in the future it could be prohibited at times to extract groundwater if there is too little left for all of us (including nature). This could endanger the harvest. Not every crop or animal needs the same amount of water. The quality required can also differ. For example, maize grows well on groundwater, but chicks really need crystal clear tap water, otherwise they would have to be given more antibiotics. So you can play with many different resources and qualities! Do you actually have any idea how much water is needed to make a kilo of steak? That is 15 cubic meters, or 15,000 liters of water. After that to be transported to the stable, the beef also drinks during its life, in processing water is used and eventually when it is on your plate you could fill the entire dining room with water that was needed for the production of your steak. A few challenges: One moment the water has to go as quickly as possible, and the next we have too little so we start irrigating. Can agriculture contribute to water availability? The climate is changing, how can agriculture adapt or can it even ensure that the climate changes less quickly (climate adaptation)? How and where is treated wastewater an opportunity for agriculture?
May be we figure out in a while