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FOOTPRINT: assessing and reducing the risk of contamination of water resources by pesticides

Congress: 2008

Keyword(s): pesticide, risk, reduction
AbstractFOOTPRINT ( is a research project funded by the European Commission which aims at developing computerised tools for pesticide risk assessment and management. The three tools known as the ‘FOOT tools’ are designed to work from large (national and EU scales) to medium (regional) through to fine (farm) scales. The three tools provide: i) an assessment of the risk of contamination by pesticides of either groundwater or surface water; ii) recommendations regarding measures to put in place to limit the contamination of water resources by these products. The approach is based on: i) the definition of a large number of ‘agro-environmental scenarios’ (combination of spatial information on climate, soils, crops and crop protection practices) reflecting the diversity in the EU agricultural landscape; and, ii) the modelling of the fate of pesticides in these scenarios using pesticide fate models. Although they implement state-of- the-art approaches to risk assessment, and in particular the results of complex models, all the complexity is hidden from users which can use the tools in a simple way. The three tools have been designed with the following end-user communities in mind: i) the European Commission, ministries and government of member states, EU and national registration authorities (FOOT-NES); ii) water managers, local authorities and water companies (FOOT-CRS); and, iii) farmers and extension advisers (FOOT-FS). Although the project focuses on Europe, the approach followed is generic and could potentially be deployed in any country in the world with minimum effort. An extensive use of the tools is expected to contribute significantly to the long-term sustainability of water resources with regard to pesticide pollution. The presentation will provide an overview of the FOOTPRINT project and will include a demonstration of how the tools can be used in practice to limit water contamination by pesticides.
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