Ornamental growers in the South East need to develop long-term strategies to reduce their reliance on mains water supplies if they are to avoid rising costs and possible restrictions.
Growers need to review the possibilities for developing their own systems for water collection, recycling and other ways of increasing efficiency of usage.
These are among the findings of ADAS consultants who completed independent water audits on nurseries during the summer of 2008 in a project sponsored by the Horticultural Trades Association and funded by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA)
As part of the project, 20 nurseries in the South East volunteered to take part in the audit, with their water management being scored against a structured proforma.
Andrew Colquhoun, the chairman of SEEDA’s Horticultural Working Group, said: “This is a potentially important project for nurseries in the region. Particularly in the South East, they are under increasing pressure to reduce water consumption. The water shortages which occurred in the summer of 2006 may become more frequent. Growers using mains supplies face rising water costs, and those who have abstraction licences are likely to face tougher legislation in relation to permits in the future.”
The project findings will form the content for the environmental workshop session at Contact 09 which takes place 14-16 January at The Hilton Hotel, Bromsgrove, Worcs.
Contact 09 is a bi-annual conference, organised by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), which provides an opportunity for all those involved in the nursery stock industry to get together at the beginning of the year to be inspired, encouraged and reinvigorated by a top line up of speakers. For further information and bookings visit www.the-hta.org.uk/contact