Water is an essential factor of production in agrifood systems; whether for growing crops, supporting livestock or food manufacture. Globally, 70% of freshwater withdrawals are used for agriculture, but increasing demand for food means that this figure is likely to increase dramatically in the future.

At the same time climate change is affecting supply and other demands on water are increasing. Mismanagement of water for food production has led to social and environmental problems in many places. Water is therefore a significant global risk to sustainable food production. This module will consider the water requirements of crop and livestock systems; the evaluation of the water related impacts and risks in producing locations; and management and technological solutions to minimise water related impacts and risks in food supply chains.

At a glance

  • DurationFive Days
  • LocationCranfield campus
  • Cost


What you will learn

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the role of water in crop and livestock systems,
  • Design and evaluate management and technological solutions to minimise the water-related impacts and risks to crop and livestock production systems in food supply chains,
  • Critically appraise the role of water in future challenges to food sustainability.

Core content

  • Introduction: Water for food; Water and risk in Agrifood systems,
  • Water requirements for Agrifood systems: Irrigation systems (Surface, overhead and localised irrigation); Calculating irrigation water requirements*; Water requirements for livestock; Water requirements for food industry,
  • Water governance and stewardship: Abstraction licencing and regulation; Water storage & reservoirs; Working together and abstractor groups; Water trading,
  • Water footprinting: Water inventory; Weighting for impact; Hotspot identification,
  • Managing water consumption: Irrigation system performance evaluation*; Irrigation scheduling; Precision irrigation,
  • Future challenges: Impacts of drought and water scarcity; Climate change, water risk and adaptation.

Accommodation options and prices

This is a non-residential course. If you would like to book accommodation on campus, please contact Mitchell Hall or Cranfield Management Development Centre directly. Further information regarding our accommodation on campus can be found here.

Alternatively you may wish to make your own arrangements at a nearby hotel.

Location and travel

Cranfield University is situated in Bedfordshire close to the border with Buckinghamshire. The University is located almost midway between the towns of Bedford and Milton Keynes and is conveniently situated between junctions 13 and 14 of the M1.

London Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are 30, 90 and 90 minutes respectively by car, offering superb connections to and from just about anywhere in the world. 

For further location and travel details

Location address

Cranfield University
College Road
MK43 0AL

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.