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On opportunities and threats of water in agriculture

30 of April '24

"Complex problems lack simple solutions"  said Professor Zbigniew Kundzewicz, hydrologist and climatologist, at the opening of the 4th Water Roundtable, this year focused on the opportunities and risks of water in agriculture. The event was organized by the Open Eyes Economy movement and the City of Wroclaw.

The Water Roundtable, a meeting of experts debating water resource issues and seeking solutions to the most pressing problems, was first held in 2021 as an important point of preparation for the City-Water-Quality of Life congress. On April 24, the fourth installment of the event took place at the Wrocław University of Technology and online, with water in agriculture as its theme.

obrady IV Wodnego Okrągłego Stołu

The deliberations of the Fourth Water Roundtable

photo: MPWiK Wrocław | Illustrations courtesy of the organizers

In Poland, we are struggling with too much and too little water at the same time, which directly affects agriculture.

The demand for water will certainly grow, but it is hard to assess to what extent. Actually today one does not register water consumption. There are plenty of intakes that are completely uncontrolled. The condition for economic efficiency of farms is a stable and high yield of good quality. For this, water is essential  said Jan Zelazo of the University of Life Sciences.

Water quality is also a problem  its pollution is to some extent due to agricultural activities  chemicals, including pesticides, significantly worsen the condition of water.

There are no reservoirs in Europe that can cause such intense water blooms as we see now without the influence of agriculture and the nutrients we supply there. [...] Nature is not able to generate such large amounts of nutrients  noted Robert Czerniawski of the University of Szczecin.

Agriculture in Poland is currently undergoing quite a bit of change  the agricultural model is undergoing change, agricultural universities are evolving into natural science universities, generational differences are also discernible  point and precision farming is set to become the future, climate change and increasing demands on agricultural products are also not insignificant.

The problem of the Polish farmer, is not the Green Deal, but the low price he gets for his work said Jerzy Kozyra of the Institute of Fertilization and Soil Science of the State Research Institute in Puławy.
Prices for energy, fertilizers have risen, while the prices you can get for agricultural products have fallen. This is raising tensions. Farmers, who bear a huge climatic risk, feel anxious every time the requirements are raised  Zbigniew Kundzewicz concluded.

Mateusz Balcerowicz – Zastępca Prezesa PGW Wody Polskie ds. Ochrony Przed Powodzią i Suszą

Mateusz Balcerowicz - Deputy President of PGW Wody Polskie for Flood and Drought Protection

photo: MPWiK Wrocław | Illustrations courtesy of the organizers

So what actions should be taken? In the conclusions from the meeting, there were voices for dialogue with all water users, examination of water resources using the latest technologies and systematic updating of databases, which is to be helped by domestic and foreign funds.

The entire event can be viewed online:

Conclusions and recommendations from the meeting will be included in the Program Document of the Fourth Water Roundtable "Water in Agriculture Opportunities and Threats", scheduled for release at the VI International Congress City-Water-Quality of Life (October 15-16, 2024 in Wroclaw, Poland).

The vote has already been cast