Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany

Liquid manure and pesticides: Water quality challenges of agriculture

Thursday 31 August | 09.00-10.30 | Room: FH Little Theatre
Liquid manure is the main source for nitrate contamination of groundwater resources

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.


09:00 Opening statement
Moderatior: Michael Eichholz, BGR 

09:05 Global and local effects of agriculture on groundwater resources – processes and examples
Georg Houben, BGR

09:25 Effects of nitrate emission from agricultural land use on groundwater quality in Northwest-Germany
Heinrich Höper
, State Office for Mining, Energy and Geology of Lower Saxony, Germany

09:40 Cooperative agreements between farmers and water utilities - A Governance mechanism to protect water Resources
Waltina Scheumann, DIE, and Carmen Richerzhagen, DIE

09:55 Threats of intensive crop farming on groundwater resources management in Zambia
Kawawa Banda, University of Zambia

10:10 Q&A

10:25 Closing remarks

10:30 Close of session