Welsh lamb and beef. Photographs: Hybu Cig Cymru
RECENT reports highlighting the large qu antities of water needed to produce meat and dairy products are well wide of the mark inWales, where it’s mainly rainwater which irrigates the lush pastures.
Such reports are based on global figures, which group together the extensively reared cattle and sheep of Wales with the intensive farms of the US.
FUW policy officer Charlotte Priddy (pictu red above) said : “Here the majority of stock benefit from Greenwater, the world wide definitionof the rainfall that is u sed at the place where it falls, although no studies currently focus on Wales, one looking at beef and lamb water footprints inEngland showed 84 per cent and 97 percent respectively is ‘green’.
“It is so important to consider water use in context. In a temperate, wet climate such as Wales, grassland water requirements are adequately met by this green water from rainfall. Even when grey water is considered , more than 80 per cent of water consumption for beef and lamb production in the UK is rainfall.
“By eating local, seasonal produce wherever possible, following the full story of the foods you eat, you can have peace of mind about water u se and also reduce carbon nemissions,” said Charlotte.
• Water use world wide is split into three categories, green, blue and grey water. Greenwater is where requ irements are ad equately met by rainfall. Blue water is water that is abstracted from water resources such as rivers and ground water, and grey water which is defined as fresh water required to dilute pollution.