Stress tests regarding drinking water protection

By Christian BlockGilles Kayser Switch to German for original article

Laku is considered a showcase project on how to cooperate with agriculture towards water conservation. But offering attractive measures to farmers remains a challenge. However, there have been achievements.

Seven years ago, a prominent visitor showed up at our meeting place. In 2015, Grand Duke Henri stood inside the barn on Jean-Jacques Ludovicy's farm to learn about agriculture and water conservation. Some of those who were there back then are present again on this cool, cloudy November day. Their appearance has changed slightly over the seven years. Whether this is just natural ageing or whether the experiences of the past years have perhaps left their mark is hard to say.

Jean-Jacques Ludovicy was a member of the working group for agriculture of the Upper Sûre water contract at the time. The "Landwirtschaftlech Kooperatioun Uewersauer" (Laku) emerged from this during autumn 2015. With the aim of achieving "water-compatible agricultural land use in the catchment area of the Upper Sûre reservoir without economic disadvantages".

Based on the sanitary protection zone that has existed since 1961, funds could be mobilised to create incentives. This enabled farmers, the Sebes Syndicate and the Obersauer Nature Park to finance and implement water protection measures in the catchment area of the reservoir even before the designation of the new drinking water protection zone. By promoting mechanical weed control, reduced tillage or the direct application of liquid manure into the soil, it has already been possible to prevent a great deal of nitrogen emissions and save on pesticides in recent years.

The cooperative approach aroused the interest of politicians early on, because you don't get very far with bans as such. This is what the deputy director of Sebes, Christian Schroeder, told the Journal just a year ago, and the statement was perhaps also intended as a reminder to politicians that "it can only be done together with the farmers".

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