To feed the world requires sufficient water for agriculture and according to recent research there is enough water in the world’s rivers to meet the demands of the expanding global population. According to a series released at the 14th World Water Congress in Porto de Galinhas, Brazil. if we are to feed the world, our rivers will have to be better managed than they are today.
According to a special issue of the Water International coordinated by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research’s Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF), The key issue for water use is not scarcity but inefficient use of supplies because of poor governance and regulation.
“The failures are institutional and political,” said Simon Cook, leader of the CPWF Basin Focal Research Project, told SciDev.Net. The researchers found that, in many areas, water production can be substantially increased without harming the environment.
“Somehow, we have to get more food without taking more water — and the most promising way is through improving rain-fed agriculture,” said Cook. But a lack of strong institutional arrangements limits access to resources, to finance, or the markets that prevent farmers from developing land to its full potential, the studies found.
To provide water for all, policies need to consider water as a holistic system. Policies should also look beyond crops and take into account water’s often neglected role in livestock farming and fisheries.
The challenge of water in the short term is very much a political and social one. With improved governance most parts of the world could meet their short and mid-term water needs, however, global climate change is expected to create much more uncertainty with regard to the physical availability of water.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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