Regulating and moderating the consumption of water is a priority and a necessity for a modern sustainable agriculture. We know that water supply is limited and that we need to regulate its use.

tomato harvestThe natural flow of a river is being affected by human activity by the diversion  of water courses  and storage of water as reservoir in artificial lakes. In the first case the water supply is completely captured normally for agricultural purposes. In the second case, the storage of water in artificial lakes for subsequent uses causes a radical change in the water flow and temperature. 

The artificial water flow prevents flooding and the development of aquatic species. While a minimal provision of water flow is usually available this is often not sufficient to guarantee the sustainability of  natural biota which changes as new forms and species adapt to the new conditions.

Demand for water is always increasing and so is the need to find a compromise with the environment. Low rainfall in Spain and particularly in the Guadiana basin means water scarcity during wet seasons such as winter can cause water flow,  released from reservoirs to be occasionally shut off in order to save water for primary needs such as industrial and agricultural purposes, this means that  on certain occasions even the minimum volume of supply of water  is not satisfied. For ecological reasons a minimum volume of water flow is required. Intensive agriculture is also responsible for the over exploitation of aquifers. In the Guadiana river years of over exploitation and illegal water usage for agriculture  has caused the desiccation of  a protected natural park (Parque Nacional de Las Tablas), a protected natural flood plain wetland and one of the most important water ecosystem in Spain.

 AGRAZ is one of the most important tomato producers in the Guadiana valley and since 2011 it has started to collaborate with SEO/birdlife on a five year project to protect biodiversity in the region. The plan is intended at protecting and encouraging biodiversity. Particular attention is paid to restore and protect the habitat for those species that have been affected by intensive farming such as amphibian, reptiles and in particular birds. The program is being implemented in three major farms and comprises actions such as the installation of ponds, natural fences the planting of bushes in fallow land, installation of nests and natural shelter for reptiles. As the research is being carried through ,the situation is monitored every year to measure results. Other measures been taken such as informing and educating farmers about the importance to protect biodiversity.

 AGRAZ is also investing on technology to save water for irrigation by the use of drip irrigation and moisture probes. The use of chemicals is also restrained as a consequence of these practices. Agraz is a landmark for what concerns intensive farming and ecological awareness in this region. These researchers are being studied by SEO/BIRDLIFE to see if they can be applied in other areas where intensive farming is being applied.