Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Research Impact Highlights - Water quality

Mitigating agricultural impacts on water quality.

Mary Ryan, Paula Cullen, Noel Meehan, Lori-Rae van Laren, Pat Murphy (REDP)

Research Impact Highlights 2023

Research on agriculture’s impacts on water quality is increasingly needed to inform farm mitigation measures. Working with the Agricultural Sustainability Support Advisory Programme (ASSAP), the WaterMARKE project is using data analysis to identify behavioural drivers that impact farmers’ uptake of measures. The findings are currently being implemented within ASSAP and in the design of the Teagasc Water Quality Campaign. 

The research shows that measure uptake tends to be higher in cases where farmers find that measures are viewed positively by respected sources – e.g. other farmers, family, farm advisors and farming media. Farmers feeling that they have adequate knowledge and capacity to implement measures also increases uptake.

Using this research, greatest behavioural impact can be achieved through advisor-led, group-based interventions that provide technical knowledge on water quality issues and mitigation, together with local, respected farmers who have successfully implemented measures. WaterMARKE also identified easy wins, allowing for the focus of efforts where uptake is greater, i.e. on larger farms, participants in agri-environment schemes, and locations with high awareness and implementation of measures.

However, the research also found that the cost of implementing measures is a barrier to uptake. This information provided important research evidence to justify the need for the Water European Innovation Partnership (EIP). From a wider policy perspective, this research has highlighted a need to focus on behavioural drivers of measure uptake. In tandem with the technical elements of knowledge transfer initiatives, this can help achieve wider uptake of water quality mitigation measures.

CAP Network WaterMARKE case study June Update (YouTube Video)

Contact: mary.ryan@teagasc.ie

Other contributor(s): University of Galway.

Funding: Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (co-funded).

Impact pathways: Capacity Building; Policy Influencing.

[photo credit] Teagasc