Agriculture needs to use water wisely

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Water scarcity already affects one in three people on Earth and the situation is likely to worsen with population increases and climate change.

Improved water management in agriculture, especially in irrigation, is a priority according to an article on the Worldwatch Institute website.

Farmers can achieve water-use efficiency gains in a number of ways, including by practicing agroforestry. Growing a diverse array of crops suited to local conditions especially in drought-prone regions also reduces water consumption as does growing perennial crops and maintaining healthy soils, either by applying organic fertilizer or growing cover crops to retain soil moisture. Drip irrigation systems help by delivering water directly to plants’ roots.

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) estimates that half the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030, including 75 to 250 million people in Africa.

Water wars are not inevitable, says the article, and trans-group or trans-boundary management of water basins and international water agreements have resulted in cooperation. Peacefully overcoming water scarcity depends on political will, trust between nations and real manifestations of cooperation.

“Leaders of all persuasions should cooperate to make agriculture water-use efficiency an international priority.”

Read the full story: To Combat Scarcity, Increase Water-Use Efficiency in Agriculture