Big irrigation schemes enable intensive agriculture which in turn increases run off and pollution into our surface and groundwater. To date, the Government has spent less than 2% of its funds committed to such irrigation schemes.
Thus continuing to irrigate and intensify will lead to a fifty fold increase above current pollution levels.
More irrigation and nutrients from animal waste and fertilisers will lead to increased freshwater pollution over the next 30 to 50 years. Our rivers and lakes will be less likely to provide safe swimming, good fishing or to sustain food gathering in the future if we carry on as we are currently.
Government freshwater standards allow for levels of nitrates toxic to fish and only sets swimmable standards for 10% of our rivers and lakes.
Our freshwater quality standards are focused on swimmability which relates solely to e.coli levels . They do not protect healthy aquatic ecosystems and we have no freshwater quantity (minimum flow) standards.