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New report sees water shortages for UK agriculture.

Agricultural crops in Britain may need to be moved to new areas as the threat of both drought and flooding rises in the coming decades, a new report commissioned by the Royal Agricultural Society of England says. The report said climate change was expected to produce higher temperatures, drier summers and wetter winters across much of England.

"This is likely to mean reduced river flow and less water available for agriculture," said one of the report's authors, Alison Bailey, of the University of Reading's School of Agriculture, Policy and Development.

The report also said there was a clear risk from more frequent extremes of drought and flooding, with one researcher advising plant breeders to incorporate drought resistance and water-logging tolerance into new varieties. Farmers also are encouraged to build reservoirs so that in the future they can conserve winter rainfall for summer irrigation.

The report said crops that need irrigation, such as sugar beet and vegetables, may be forced to shift from the drier east of England to the wetter west of the country. River flow was seen reducing by about 20 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by the 2050s.

The report produced by scientists from the Walker Institute for Climate System Research and the School of Agriculture Policy and Development, both at the University of Reading.
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Publication:The Food & Fiber Letter
Date:Oct 25, 2010
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