Water means life and life means water. Nothing can live without water – plant, animal or human. Fresh water resources are diminishing and in many areas there is competition for water by sectors including industry, agriculture, cities and nature. Water productivity studies indicate that to obtain 1 tonne of biomass it is necessary to use at least 1 000 tonnes of water. One consequence of this is that in Southern Europe more than 70 % of all water resources are dedicated to agriculture.
One of the most important issues is water quality but salinity and water re-use are also pressing questions.Both conservation of water resources and desalinisation and wastewater treatment should be given priority in many urban and rural regions. The main focus of this report from the Bertebos conference 2006, is on the problem of water use by agriculture – including agricultural productivity, the environment, how computer models can support decision-making, the main priorities during the process of handling the water and how to implement and evaluate the Scandinavian and Baltic dimension of the European Water Framework Directive.