GROWING MORE FOOD WITH LESS WATER.
Expectations for the population to grow by 40 per cent to more than 9 billion by the year 2050 have raised the global question of how to grow more food with less water. With agriculture responsible for 70 per cent of all freshwater withdrawals, efficient and sustainable water use is needed for our own generation and future generations.
With our global water crisis in mind, we have created this resource to provide factual water news and information.
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Eventually, this part of precipitation evaporates or transpires through plants. Green water can be made productive for crop growth.
Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look "dirty," it is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard.
If released into rivers, lakes, or estuaries, the nutrients in greywater become pollutants, but to plants, they are valuable fertilizer.
The main uses of water are for domestic use – drinking, cooking, bathing, cleaning, but this area, while important is a per cent of water. Industrial use is about twice that of domestic use, mostly for energy production. The biggest user is agriculture – producing food and fiber to feed and clothe our growing population.
Climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss and our growing population are immediate threats. Mountain glaciers are shrinking at ever-faster rates, threatening water supplies for millions of people and plant and animal species.
GLOBAL AND ECONOMIC WATER SCARCITY
- Little or no water scarcity. Abundant water resources relative to use, with less that 25% of water from rivers withdrawn for human purposes
- Physical water scarcity (water resources development is approaching or has exeeded sustainable limits). More that 75% of river flows are withdrawn for agriculture, industry, and domestic purposes (accounting for recycling of return flows). This definition - relating water availability to water demand - implies that dry areas are not necessarily water scarce.
- Approaching physical water scarcity. More than 60% of river flows are withdrawn. These basins will experience physical water scarcity in the near future.
- Economic water scarcity (human, institutional, and financial capital limit access to water even though water in nature is available locally to meet human demands). water resources are abundant relative to water use, with less than 25% of water from rivers withdrawn for human purposes, but malnutrition exists.
Source: International Water management Institute analysis done for the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture using the Watersim model; chapter 2.
PUBLICATIONSA Pact for Water Security The Water Footprint Assessment Manual (English) The Water Footprint Assessment Manual (Chinese) The Water Footprint Assessment Manual (Portuguese) Coping With Water Scarcity Water and Food Smallholders and Sustainable Wells The Great Balancing Act