Ireland is not the only country in Europe where the implications of rewetting-style proposals may appear uncertain for farmers.

In Greece, plans to conduct controlled flooding of land are being mooted, a Greek agricultural expert has said.

This comes following devastating flooding in the country’s Thessaly region, Greece’s agricultural heartland, last September which saw many farms destroyed.

Associate professor at the Agricultural University of Athens George Vlahos, who participated in the design of Greece’s latest CAP strategic plan, said current flood prevention measures are not working.

He added that many organisations and experts are now proposing the country’s CAP plan be amended to “leave space for water”.

“That means restore flood plains. That means remove dams, plant forestry buffers and restore the natural course of rivers,” he said.


Speaking at a European Commission farm trip to Greece, Vlahos expressed the view that compensating farmers for flooding “is very dangerous”, as it means they do not have to take any action to prevent it happening again.

Responding to a question from the Irish Farmers Journal, the agricultural professor said the land would only be flooded when needed and farmers would be compensated.

“The other solution would be to pay them and get them out of farming, which is a worse solution.

“This is something the farmers don’t want, nobody wants, because you want them to stay there and cultivate their land in a different way,” he added.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands a Dutch water management company was asked to conduct an assessment in Thessaly following the flooding, which resulted in the suggestion of a complete restructuring of the region.

This included restoring water courses, moving towns and villages and changing farming systems.