Looming global water crisis an 'urgent security issue'
Zafar Adeel, director of the United Nations University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health, says the main challenge facing agriculture “is not so much growing 70 percent more food in 40 years, but making 70 percent more food available on the plate. Reducing losses in storage and along the value chain may go a long way towards offsetting the need for more production.”
Projections vary significantly, but the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates an 11 percent increase in irrigation water consumption from 2008 to 2050, Adeel says. This is expected to result in a roughly 5 percent increase in water withdrawals for irrigation.
“Although this seems a modest increase, much of it will occur in regions already suffering from water scarcity,” Adeel says. “Water security requires long-term political ownership and commitment, recognition of water’s key role in development and human security, and budget allocations appropriate to the fundamental importance of water to every living thing.”