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Unlocking the water potential of agriculture

This paper examines present and future water availability for food production at a time of increasing demands for water from other users: for sanitation and drinking-water in mega-cities, for industry, and for the environment. It is based on the results of the electronic conference on Water Source of Food Security, organized by the Land and Water Development Division of FAO from 15 September to 1 November 2002. The paper discusses the present and future availability of water resources in relation to poverty alleviation and rural development. It looks at issues arising from the desire to enhance water productivity in agriculture. Risk management is examined, especially in terms of water management incentives that will increase productivity. The paper discusses approaches to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of water resource development for ecosystems like wetlands, which provide valuable 'ecosystem services', such as recharging groundwater, attenuating floods, and buffering sediment and pollution. The final topic is modernization of irrigation water management, defined as a process of technical and managerial upgrading. The paper concludes with the choices that governments and funding agents face in trying to ensure that water scarcity will not curtail the world's capability to produce enough food for the future global population.

TitleUnlocking the water potential of agriculture
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsKijne, J.W.
Paginationviii, 62 p. : 13 boxes, 5 fig., 15 pl.
Date Published2003-01-01
PublisherFood and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Place PublishedRome, Italy
Keywordsappropriate technology, ecosystems, environmental impact, food, irrigation, policies, poverty, productivity, rural development, salinity, sdiwrm, water quantity, water resources management, water reuse
Abstract

This paper examines present and future water availability for food production at a time of increasing demands for water from other users: for sanitation and drinking-water in mega-cities, for industry, and for the environment. It is based on the results of the electronic conference on Water Source of Food Security, organized by the Land and Water Development Division of FAO from 15 September to 1 November 2002. The paper discusses the present and future availability of water resources in relation to poverty alleviation and rural development. It looks at issues arising from the desire to enhance water productivity in agriculture. Risk management is examined, especially in terms of water management incentives that will increase productivity. The paper discusses approaches to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of water resource development for ecosystems like wetlands, which provide valuable 'ecosystem services', such as recharging groundwater, attenuating floods, and buffering sediment and pollution. The final topic is modernization of irrigation water management, defined as a process of technical and managerial upgrading. The paper concludes with the choices that governments and funding agents face in trying to ensure that water scarcity will not curtail the world's capability to produce enough food for the future global population.

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