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Title: Mitigating diffuse water pollution from agriculture : an interdisciplinary approach using behavioural and catchment science
Author: Okumah, Murat
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 1616
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2020
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Evidence shows that conventional agricultural systems, which currently dominate global food production, are a key contributor to diffuse water pollution from agriculture (DWPA). This threatens ecosystems’ and human health, reduces the recreational value of water bodies and increases water treatment costs, adding further impediments towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, integrating agricultural and environmental policies to sustain food production systems while safeguarding water quality is one of today’s most pressing challenges. Previous studies have shown that generally, farmers lack a strong understanding of the link between their practices and DWPA whilst others are unaware of existing best management practices (BMPs). Therefore, in their search for measures to tackle DWPA, policymakers are increasingly focussing on how to improve farmers’ awareness, under the expectation that this will lead to increased adoption of BMPs and improvements in water quality. This suggests an awareness-behaviour-water quality pathway. To date, however, the study of the awareness-behaviour-water quality pathway has been fragmented and insufficient. In this PhD research I applied state-of-the-art interdisciplinary approaches, combining behavioural and catchment science to further our understanding of the complexities of the relationship between farmers’ awareness, behaviour and water quality. This PhD research adopted a collaborative approach, with a focus on the UK. This collaborative approach helped to uncover two key findings. First, awareness influences farmers’ adoption of BMPs, however, this relationship is moderated by experiential learning. It is therefore important that farmers are offered the opportunity to engage in action-oriented learning. The second finding is that awareness influences farmers’ adoption of BMPs and this, in turn, does influence water quality. However, this pathway is moderated by several psychosocial and biophysical factors. This finding suggests that awareness-focussed approaches are promising, but policymakers and catchment managers need to consider these complex factors critically influencing policy outcomes.
Supervisor: Martin-Ortega, Julia ; Chapman, Pippa J. ; Novo, Paula Sponsor: University of Leeds
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available