Liquid manure and pesticides: Water quality challenges of agriculture

Convenor(s):
Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany

In a world of almost 7,5 billion habitants, global demand for crops and meat is on the rise: especially in emerging developing countries, agricultural production shows a trend towards industrialization. Part of the industrial agricultural production process are an increased use of fertilizers, pesticides and non-tillage farming, as well as a concentration of livestock production in huge farms. Increased production comes on cost of negative effects on nutrient and water cycles: Concentrated livestock production generates huge amounts of animal waste that is supposed to fertilize the livestock’s forage. However, often these nutrients end up as nitrate pollution in the adjacent rivers and aquifers. On the other hand, heavy use of pesticides in industrial crop farming has been found to contaminate groundwater resources in several places. Both types of pollution pose severe risk to human health - especially to children - and may compromise drinking water availability or boost treatment costs. Pollution of industrial agriculture is often diffuse and hard to control. This makes the proper management a major challenge, even in countries with highly regulated agricultural systems. The event shows global trends of agricultural groundwater contamination and presents case studies of sound regulation and cooperative solutions with industrial agriculture.

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Thursday 09:00-10:30
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