Sustainable Water Management

Technical Information

Sustainable Water Management

Water is a precious natural resource that must be protected and used in a sustainable manner.

Agriculture is both a cause and a victim of water scarcity and is the main consumer of 70 percent of global water resources. According to the World Wide Fund For Nature, between 15 and 35 percent of water used in agriculture comes from unsustainable sources. On top of that, many agricultural production areas are located in already arid regions. Climate change will further intensify global water scarcity.

As such, agriculture and, in particular, organic agriculture have a special responsibility to use water resources carefully.

Naturland standards on sustainable water management

For these reasons, Naturland has developed and introduced standards for water management, especially for regions experiencing water scarcity. The scientific means of checking if a farm is located in a region with scarce water resources is to use an aqueduct water risk filter with the “water depletion” indicator.

The Naturland water management plan

Naturland farms situated in regions suffering from water scarcity are obliged to fulfil additional requirements (see Naturland Standards B.I.7). The central element of these additional requirements is the water management plan (WMP):

Please note this only applies to farms that use artificial irrigation rather than relying on rainfall.

Individual farmers located in regions with scarce water resources must hand in the following documents prior to inspection:

For producer groups, only one water management plan needs to be filled out on behalf of the whole group. Additionally, groups must hand in the Farmerslist Irrigation (FLI ) Excel spreadsheet:

Guidance for sustainable water management

To enable a better understanding of the Naturland requirements for sustainable water use and to help farms improve their water management, Naturland and Bio Suisse have developed a guideline for sustainable water management, which can be downloaded here:

Procedure relating to the water management plan

The water management plan and corresponding Excel spreadsheet(s) must be submitted to Naturland prior to inspection during the first year and every three years thereafter. The Excel spreadsheet(s), however, must be updated regularly. The water management plan and excel spreadsheet(s) will be evaluated by Naturland. Farms will receive the results of the evaluation of the WMP along with the next certification letter issued by the Naturland certification committee. Please also show the completed WMP along with the Excel spreadsheet(s) during the next Naturland inspection.