Agriculture and fisheries events

Pathways to policy change on water in agriculture



Brussels, Belgium | 20-21 February 2018

The OECD Secretariat and the European Commission co-organised a workshop on pathways to policy changes on water in agriculture. The agriculture sector faces increasing water risks and is also a significant user and polluter of water. Policy options to tackle these challenges have been identified but they are not always easy to introduce or to apply.

The objective of the workshop was to discuss and exchange practical experience in reform processes on water policies in agriculture among OECD and EU member countries. The exercise sought to identify pathways to address water resource challenges for the agriculture sector. 

The workshop contributed to a project led by the OECD Joint Working Party on Agriculture and the Environment on “Reforming water policies in agriculture”. It also contributed to discussions engaged by the European Commission with its member States, under its Taskforce on Water and Agriculture, on the sustainable management of water in agriculture in the European Union (EU). 


Documents and presentations



Session 1: From political realities to changing policies

  • Opening speech by Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development

Session 2: Changing policies to respond to new objectives and constraints

  • Pathways to policy change on water for agriculture, Dustin Garrick, Oxford University
  • Reforming Water Management in Irrigated Agriculture: The Challenge of Responding to a Maturing Water Economy, Susanne Scheierling, World Bank
  • Israel: Water regulation within the agricultural sector, Dafna DiSegni, Tel Aviv University
  • California’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Ellen Hanak, Public Policy Institute of California
  • The case of New Zealand, intervention by Ginny Chapman, First Secretary OECD, New Zealand Embassy in Paris

Session 3: Making reform happen: pathways to change policies

  • Risks and Options Assessment for Decision-Making: Pathways to Decision-making on water in agriculture, Quentin Grafton, Australia National University
  • Small-scale Irrigation (SSI) in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Why and the How, Claudia Ringler, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Water governance and agriculture, Håkan Tropp, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities
  • Agriculture at the required level-Contribution by Stefan Kuks, Vechtstromen Water Authority and University of Twente, the Netherlands
  • Soil and Water Optimisation- Practical tips for handling soil and water in agricultural business operations


Session 4: Implementing and future-proofing policies and investments

  • Evaluating Water Policies and Investments Around the World, José Albiac, CITA-University of Zaragoza
  • Implementing and future-proofing policies and investments, Martijn van der Heide and Jaime Hoogesteger, Wageningen University
  • Water policy changes in Turkey’s agricultural sector: challenges and responses, Aysegül Kibaroglu, MEF University, Istanbul
  • Pathways to policy change on water in agriculture, Xavier Leflaive, OECD Environment Directorate
  • Pathways to policy change in water and agriculture: Mexico’s Experience, Miguel Narvaez, Mexico’s Representative Office, Brussels.
  • Strategic planning approach to irrigation modernisation in Australia, presented by Richard MacLoughlin, Australia Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Session 5: Identifying barriers and actionable levers to action by water challenges: breakout sessions on the implementation of policies on water quantity or water quality

Sub-session 5.a. Water quantity

  • Water policy on Agriculture in Romania, Gheorghe Constantin, Director, Ministry of Water and Forests
  • Reforming quantitative water management policy in France, Jean-Daniel Rinaudo, Bureau  de  Recherches Géologiques et Minières, France
  • Alternative pathways to address water scarcity challenges to agriculture: identifying barriers and actionable levers to action, Elena Lopez-Gunn, ICATALIST (Spain) and University of Leeds (UK)

Sub-session 5.b. Water quality

  • Specific factors exerting influence on the adoption and implementation of the policies addressing water quality, Bror Christensen, Danish Ministry of Environment and Food
  • Pathways to policy change on water in agriculture - water quality session, Oliver Loebel and Claudia Castell-Exner, EurEau
  • Pathways to policy change in water and agriculture, Jack Nolan, Ireland Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Session 6: Takeaway lessons


Relevant publications



For further information on this workshop, please contact the Trade and Agriculture Directorate (OECD).


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