Water and Agriculture


In 2000, the EU developed the Water Framework Directive to address water quality and usage across Europe.  The aim of the directive was to achieve ‘a good ecological status of Europe’s waters by 2015’.  This directive, combined with the cross compliance regime within the CAP, has to date proved largely ineffective in achieving a satisfactory improvement in agricultural water quality and use.

Although public policy instruments have their place in improving the situation, they do not seem to be sufficient in motivating farmers as private actors to bear the necessary costs and actions for the implementation of the WFD. Furthermore, financial means of support are not increasing while the demands on water users, such as farmers, are growing.

RISE has made the issue of sustainable water management by Europe's farmers a key focus area over the last two years, seeking to develop tools and strategies which help farmers to achieve the goals of the WFD in an affordable and realistic manner. We have done this through supporting pilot projects and developing positions in relation to EU policy developments in the CAP, notably addressing the issue of how to finance sustainable water management by farmers:

  1. Pilot project - the European Water Stewardship standard (Belgium)

  2. Local Deals for better water management project (Pan-European)

  3. Input for the European Innovation Partnership on Water (Taskforce and Steering Committee)

  4. RISE's position paper on Water and Agriculture - Innovative tools and financing for better water management




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