The availability of freshwater resources in soil and groundwater bodies in the southwestern part of The Netherlands is expected to decrease during the agricultural growing season because of an expected increase of freshwater demands and a changing climate. This expected shortage of fresh water might negatively affect agricultural production. To cope with this problem, three pilots were initiated aimed at increasing freshwater supply at farm-level (GO-FRESH project).
The objective of this paper is to evaluate the socio-economic factors that determine the wider use of the measures investigated in these pilots. Therefore, the results of a feasibility study and a survey about drought risks were compared by Jeroen Veraart, Jan Vreke (both Alterra, Wageningen UR) and Rianne van Duinen (Deltares/TU Twente).
The survey indicates that respondents do not make distinction between a dry and extremely dry year in their estimation of the return period. The results of a feasibility study illustrate that confidence and the level of common understanding regarding the reliability of these innovative measures has increased amongst project participants since 2012. The survey respondents were less optimistic about the wider implementation of the investigated technologies. A reliable freshwater supply and supportive legislation are the most decisive socio-economic factors for a future investment in additional freshwater supply for farmers in this region.
Both studies illustrate that the impact of additional freshwater supply on farm economics strongly depends on farm type and crop cultivation plan. These insights may support the wider use of these innovations and may help to improve agro-hydrological models.
The GO-FRESH project is carried out by Deltares, KWR-Water, Alterra, HZ, Acacia-Water and ZLTO. The project was supported by the foundation 'Knowledge for Climate', the Province of Zeeland, ZLTO, STOWA, Water board Scheldestromen, Water board Brabantse Delta, the municipality of Schouwen-Duiveland & Veere, the ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment and the national Delta Programme.