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© Susanne Klages
Landwirtschaftlicher Betrieb und ein Wassergraben.

Farm systems management and governance for producing good water quality for drinking water supplies

Most people in Europe have access to good drinking water quality. However, due to nitrate and pesticides pollution which can be caused by agricultural production, drinking water treatment cost may increase. FAIRWAY develops indicators, measures and solutions to reduce drinking water pollution by agriculture.

Background and Objective

The EU-Project FAIRWAY develops promising approaches and measures for the protection of a good drinking water quality in Europe. Central elements of the project are 13 case studies from 10 different European countries in which drinking water protection is mostly intensively practiced. The case studies differ the in the kind of water bodies analyzed (groundwater, surface water), in size and water quantity extracted, the degree of pollution with nitrate and pesticides and in land use and farm types (livestock, cropland, etc.).


We want to analyze best-practice approaches regarding their success to develop solution options for policy and practice. Special focus is on the exchange and cooperation with local actors in the different case studies, in the so-called Multi-Actor Platforms. Furthermore, indicators shall be identified and evaluated that indicate a potential for drinking water pollution and efficient measures are summarized that allow a water protective agricultural production. Also, different IT-based decision support systems which are of relevance for practice are summarized within the project and will be further developed. We, from Thünen-Institute, are involved in the project in the development of indicators, in the comparison of the implementation of the nitrate directive in different EU member states and, in cooperation with the Chamber of Agriculture in Lower Saxony, with the evaluation of a case study for an improved manure management in Lower Saxony.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727984

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • European Union (EU)
    (international, öffentlich)


6.2017 - 12.2021

More Information

Project funding number: grant agreement No 727984
Funding program: EU – Horizon 2020 – Societal Challenge "Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy"
Project status: finished

Publications to the project

  1. 0

    Klages S, Aue C, Reiter K, Heidecke C, Osterburg B (2022) Catch crops in Lower Saxony - more than 30 years of action against water pollution with nitrates: all in vain? Agriculture 12(4):447, DOI:10.3390/agriculture12040447

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