Potato supplier Branston Ltd is involved in research looking at how much water is used by potatoes during their lifetime...from growing through to processing.
Researchers hope that by understanding the ‘water footprint' of potatoes they will be able to look at ways of helping potato producers and processors to adapt to the potential effects of climate change and how to cope with less water.
It is the first time that anyone has looked at the supply chain in relation to its water catchment - and the future risks to the industry in what is one of the country's prime potato growing areas.
Experts at The University of Northampton are working with colleagues at the University of Lincoln, Cranfield University and Lincolnshire potato company Branston Ltd on the project, which is one of five Collaborative Research and Development grants worth a total of more than £235,000 announced by the Food and Drink iNet, which co-ordinates innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals working in the food and drink sector in the East Midlands.
"Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of water in their supply chain, not only for security of supply, but also for the environmental impacts caused by water use," said Dr Margaret Bates, reader in sustainable waste management at the University of Northampton.
"Any disruption of water in the supply chain can impact significantly on a business' ability to operate and deliver; therefore a greater understanding of water usage will enable companies to adopt strategies to mitigate against future scarcities and impacts of climate change."