Water and agriculture

Water is one of the most important production factors for agriculture. Good water management is therefore essential for optimal food production. Our research into agricultural water management includes water availability, sustainability, irrigation, drainage, nutrient run-off, soil properties and the interaction between water, food, energy, and ecosystems (water nexus).

  • Water and agriculture

Water is needed for agricultural production, but agriculture has substantial consequences for water balance and quality. In the Sustainable Water Management programme, Wageningen University & Research has the knowledge and expertise of a broad-based group of researchers with experience in the efficient use of water, water quality protection, and spatial coordination of water use.

It sounds cliché, but agriculture really is the largest water consumer in the world.
Ab Veldhuizen

Knowledge for challenges relating to water and food production

Worldwide, there is insufficient clean water for food production, water extraction, and the conservation of biodiversity. Even in the relatively wet Netherlands, we periodically suffer from drought damage. This problem is worsening as a result of climate change. The weather will be characterised by periods of more severe drought as well as periods of flooding. Water quality is threatened by intensive land use and the production of waste water. We are therefore facing a major challenge in dealing with these changes and ensuring, together, that the water system continues to function for food production, drinking water extraction, working safely, living and recreation, and the conservation of biodiversity. It is our mission to contribute to this with our knowledge.

  • We combine different types of expertise to create an integrated overview and provide advice.
  • Multiple scales: we not only look at a plot, but also at the regional context, and the interrelatedness of factors in the area.
  • We have extensive tools and models that can measure and calculate water quality, quantity, availability, and capacity at different scale levels.