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The World Is Thirsty Because It Is Hungry - 25th March 2014

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Tuesday 25th March 2014.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor



The World Is Thirsty Because It Is Hungry

Greetings! It’s to be another brisk week with temps still in the 30s F in the Upper Midwest.

Over the weekend, I discovered a few Christmas decorations that had been buried in the snow for months and dug them out of what is now mud. As I walked across our lawn, it literally gushed and oozed with water and I thought how fitting that today (Saturday) is World Water Day.

I think agriculture feels a little beat up at times over the world water situation – as it is held responsible for 70 per cent of all fresh water withdrawals.

While we all know the world has to make some serious changes, it’s not all doom and gloom.

Irrigation practices are helping to improve crop productivity and yields. Using rainwater harvesting, micro-irrigation, drip irrigation, rotational grazing systems, and other approaches can all help conserve our water supply, says Danielle Nierenberg at Food Tank.

Our water consumption is around 3,800 liters every day, and 92 percent of that is used to produce the food we eat.

  • Europe uses, on average, 44 percent of water for agricultural use.
  • In the US, agriculture accounts for around 80 percent of consumptive water use.
  • In the western US states, over 90 percent of water use is for agricultural purposes.

All over the world farmers are using innovative practices to use less water more efficiently to produce more food.

In Syria, in the four regions hit hardest by groundwater shortages, the FAO helped the Ministry of Agriculture improve irrigation technology and management techniques. And it’s a technique that is used on small and large farms all over the world.

In Israel and Spain, farmers have started re-using drainage water from urban areas mixed with groundwater for supplying water to crops.

And in California agricultural waste water from irrigating crops is being reclaimed and treated for re-use.

Across India, the Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) regenerates watershed communities by harvesting rain water, sustainably managing the land, optimizing irrigation, and planting crops based on water availability. WOTR has rejuvenated 200,000 hectares of land.

About 47 percent of the population could be living under severe water stress by 2050.

“The world is thirsty because it is hungry,” reports the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

I love that line – The world is thirsty because it’s hungry. It emphasizes the point that it takes water to make food, but our food production will be limited by our global water supply.

So I ask… What did you do on World Water Day to help preserve water? Little changes can make a big difference.

I’d love to have you follow me on Twitter @sarahmikesell.

Have a great week!


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