Agriculture provides food, fibre, energy and, last but not least, it provides a living for many people around the World. The potential drawback of the agricultural production is pollution of the terrestrial and aquatic environment by nutrients, pesticides, trace elements, anti-biotics, and natural and synthetic hormones. Growth in the agricultural production, as it has occurred in Europe and North America since 1950s and more recently in many other parts of the World, threatens the quality of groundwater and surface waters or has already led to deterioration of the quality of these waters. Typical hotspot areas with problems occur in Denmark, the Netherlands, northern Italy, Germany, France, China, USA and New Zealand.
Policies to abate deterioration of water quality have been developed and programmes of measures to improve water quality have been implemented. For example, the European Union has adopted directives that should result in a good quality of all waters by 2027 (Nitrates Directive in 1991, Water Framework Directive in 2000). Experiences of the last 15 to 25 years make clear that it will be a great challenge to realise these objectives in the remaining decade. In other parts of the world, e.g. in New Zealand, the government has initiated a national science challenge to improve land and water quality. Recently, China has also implemented a law that should control water pollution, amongst others, by agriculture.
Nevertheless it is has become clear that realisation of the objectives of these policies gets more difficult, not only since the easy, low cost measures already have been implemented, but also because there is a pressure to increase the agricultural production. For example, in Denmark the government has allowed farmers to increase fertilisation since 2016. Is the twin aim of increasing agricultural production and at the same time improving water quality a realistic one? Which measures are cost effective? Should measures be enforced by law or implemented on a voluntary basis? These are some of the issues that are addressed at LuWQ2019.
LuWQ2019 is the follow-up to the successful LuWQ conferences, LuWQ2017 held in The Hague, the Netherlands, in June 2017, LuWQ2015 held in Vienna, Austria, in September 2015 and the LuWQ2013 conference held in The Hague, the Netherlands, in June 2013. The LuWQ conferences have their origin in the series of so-called international MonNO3 workshops focusing on monitoring the effectiveness of the Nitrates Directive action programmes. The first MoNO3 workshop was held in The Hague in 2003 and the second MonNO3 workshop took place in Amsterdam in 2009.
This conference aims to discuss the entire ’policy cycle’ to enable enhancing the quality of the water environment, which includes problem recognition, formulation of technical options, policy formulation, interaction between policy makers and stakeholders (i.e. pressure groups), policy implementation, monitoring and research. The conference also aims to facilitate networking opportunities between scientists of different discipline backgrounds i.e. economic, social and natural sciences, as well as between scientists, water managers and policy makers.
In short, the objectives are to:
- Provide a forum for exchange of scientific knowledge, research to better understand ’systems function’, modelling and uncertainty;
- Discuss the entire policy cycle for water quality improvement; and
- To intensify contacts (a) between soil/water related scientists, agro related scientists, social scientists, ecological scientists and economists, and (b) between scientists, water managers and policy makers
Conference target groups and keywords
Target groups (professionals, fields of expertise, audience) are scientists, managers and policy makers involved in the policy cycle for water quality improvement.
The conference deals with themes and topics characterised by the following keywords:
Keywords for fields of expertise and scientific disciplines: agronomy, agro-economics, agro-sociology, water management, water policy, action plan, river basin management plan, hydrology, soil science, drinking water supply
Keywords for system description: aquatic ecosystems, terrestrial ecosystems, unsaturated zone, groundwater, surface waters, monitoring, modelling, chemical water quality, biological water quality, nitrate vulnerable zones, river basins, catchments
Keywords for best management practices: buffer zones, sedimentation ponds, constructed wetlands, incorporation of fertilisers, catch crops, erosion control, cost effectiveness, voluntary measures, laws and regulations
Keywords for substances: nutrients, nitrate, phosphorus, pesticides and other organic agrochemicals, heavy metals