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Review of the use of irrigation water in UK agriculture and the potential risks to food safety
Project Code: B17005
Robens Centre for Public and Environmental Health, University of Surrey
Pond, K ; Charles, K; Pedley, S;
Unknown (Environmental Consultant)
United Utilities Water plc
University of East Anglia
One of the primary uses of water in agriculture is for crop irrigation. The majority of water used for irrigation is abstracted directly from rivers or underground aquifers, additionally some surface waters are stored in on-farm reservoirs to provide continuity of supply during the summer. Wastewater discharges and run-off from agricultural land or faecal waste from wildlife can contaminate rivers and streams with pathogens, if contaminated water is then applied to crops the pathogens could be transferred on to the produce and, with many of these products consumed raw, there is a potential risk to public health.
In 2001 the Agency commissioned a review of the use of water in UK agriculture and the potential risks to food safety. As a result of new information available the Agency has commissioned an updated review focussing on the risk associated with different irrigation water practices. The identified risks will then be compared against current statutory and industry guidelines and controls in order to make recommendations for improvements to current management practices and identify areas for future research.
This report is presented in two sections.
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