2021 CliMatE tRansactiOn

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Water shortage due to climate change - consequences and courses of action for agriculture

The third consecutive year of drought is having a devastating effect on agriculture and forestry. What does climate change mean for agriculture and the landscape ? Withered plants, streams without water and discontinued navigation drastically show the need for action. If the amount of rainfall cannot be influenced, the distribution, a reduced runoff or an adapted way of farming might be a solution that can secure the existence of agriculture in the long run. The Hammbach catchment area in Dorsten as a pilot region is located in the southern Münsterland, the Hammbach flows into the Lippe in Dorsten. The region receives its drinking water from the Holsterhausen and Üfter Mark well galleries. In addition to the city of Dorsten, small moors, wetlands and wooded areas, the project area contains many agricultural uses with different structures (such as corn, grain, vegetables, fruit, livestock) both in production and processing. Many farms traditionally withdraw groundwater for irrigation and operational purposes. A German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) funding project completed in 2019 has already concluded, "The agricultural water demand ... of an estimated 27 million m³/a in dry years is water-balanced, ... not recoverable. Top priority must therefore be given to more efficient irrigation and adaptation of crops grown." Reduce runoff, convert management, perpetuate use In the KlimaBeHageN project, scientists, economists, water management utilities and agricultural stakeholders will now work together until 2022 to try to find transferable solutions. The aim of the KlimaBeHageN project is, on the one hand, a balanced water budget with measurable attenuation of consumption peaks, especially in dry periods; on the other hand, economic activities and affordable water prices should also be guaranteed in the future. Questions include: What are the irrigation needs of agriculture in dry years and can more economical irrigation techniques be used? Are there crops that could be better used here and require less water? In addition, the question of how to organize and finance the provision of water in the future will be explored. Furthermore, ecological improvements are to be made.

Responsible : Michael Hesse

Project partners : Emschergenossenschaft and Lippeverband

Funding : Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU)