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Letter: Why do farmers waste water?

Sir: The climate must not carry the whole can for water shortages ("It's a rainier than average February; so why are the water companies talking again about crisis?" 22 February).

Many years ago, my father taught me to water the garden only after sundown. The plants don't scorch and the water is put to best use by sinking into the soil overnight, without significant evaporation.

So why are farmers allowed to fling our precious water supplies heavenwards in the heat of the day? Last summer, in this region of East Anglia, such wasteful practice was observed daily, often in temperatures of 80F and over.

Given that farmers either tap into valuable and ever-diminishing aquifer sources, or abstract from rivers which eventually feed reservoirs, can the extravagant daytime use of this method of irrigation be justified?


Thriplow, Cambridgeshire