This year’s World Water Day theme of “Water and Food Security” has embedded water written all over it. According to the UN, “Each of us needs to drink 2 to 4 litres (0.5 to 1.1 gallons) of water every day. But it takes 2,000 to 5,000 litres (528 to 1321 gallons) of water to produce one person’s daily food.” It’s easy to see where a region facing water scarcity could also easily face food insecurity. In looking to the future, the UN has identified numerous challenges [PDF] between water and food, including:
- A rising and shifting demand for food;
- Increased risks from climate change;
- Yields limited by the gender gap;
- Scarce water resources;
- Increasing competition for water; and
- Degraded land and water resources.
These are big challenges, and as the population grows the demand for water will continue to grow. Not only will we need more water to use directly from a tap for things like drinking and bathing, but also to produce more food and consumer goods as well as more electricity from power plants, which also draw a lot of valuable water. Much of that future water use will come in the form of groundwater withdrawals increasing the need to evaluate and properly manage that very precious resource.
There are a lot of entities out there competing for our water. Planning and managing wisely with all these uses in mind is the only way to ensure that there will be enough for us all. According to the UN there are actions we can all take to cope with population growth and ensure access to nutritious food for everyone:
- Follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
- Consume less water-intensive products;
- Reduce scandalous food wastage: 30 to 50 percent of food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water (and energy) used to produce it is lost; and
- Produce more food, of better quality, with less water.
Reference: Ecocentric Blog