Wine’s emerging water crisis

As more regions struggle with water shortages, Michelle Bouffard takes a look at one initiative to help conserve this precious resource.

Harvey, Alford, Pannell
Jock Harvey, consultant and vineyard manager, Chalk Hill; ; Elly Alford, business development , Water Utilities Australia, Photo: Lightly Salted/Liam West; Stephan Pannell, S.C. Pannell winery, Photo: SCP Wines

Drought is a growing concern in many parts of the world. In South Africa, which has faced such critical water shortages that the city of Cape Town nearly ran dry, signs with the tag line ‘Water is our lifeline’ can be seen everywhere. The lack of water has become such a problem that some grape growers who need to irrigate are even questioning the long-term viability of their crop. This is not just a South African problem – agriculture is the greatest user of water globally, and drought is an increasing threat in many countries. Yet one region, the McLaren Vale in South Australia, had the insight three decades ago to put a water plan in place to ensure sustainability.  

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