Water Quality and Agriculture

Meeting the Policy Challenge

image of Water Quality and Agriculture

Improving water quality is consistently ranked as a top environmental concern in OECD public opinion surveys. The key challenges for policy makers in addressing water quality issues in agriculture are to reduce water pollution while encourage benefits, such as maintaining aquatic life. This book examines linking policies, farm management and water quality. It looks at recent trends and prospects for water pollution from agriculture and the implications of climate change. It assesses the costs and benefits of agriculture's impact on water systems, and presents a series of case studies. Finally the report provides a set of recommendations for countries for meeting the challenge of improving agricultural water quality.

English Also available in: French

Monetary costs and benefits of agriculture's impact on water systems

The overall economic, environmental and social costs of water pollution caused by agriculture across OECD countries are likely to exceed billions of dollars annually, although no satisfactory estimate of these costs exists. The economic cost of agricultural water pollution is significant in many countries. Treating water to remove nutrients and pesticides to ensure water supplies meet drinking standards can be substantial for water treatment companies, and ultimately paid for by consumers. Eutrophication of fresh and marine waters can also impose economic costs on ecosystems, recreational and amenity benefits, spiritual values, and recreational and commercial fisheries. Monetary values for the impacts of agriculture on water systems is lacking in the policy debate, with reliance largely on physical measures of water quality. When reliable estimates of economic costs and benefits from agriculture on the environment, including water systems, can be calculated, they can define the scale of different environmental problems for policy makers and direct focus to areas with the greatest potential societal costs.

English Also available in: French

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error