Can water productivity improvements save us from global water scarcity?

19 August, 2021

Agriculture is essential to achieving food security and supporting livelihoods and economies. Population increase, unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and climate change are critical drivers for increasing water stress.

Urgent responses are required to improve agriculture water management, well integrated with other competitive sectors, particularly in water scarce regions. Sustainable water management is indispensable for climate-resilient growth and environmental integrity – unsustainable water management has devastating effects for people, economies and the environment.

A new White Paper “Can water productivity improvements save us from global water scarcity?” by the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG), provides key guiding recommendations towards more resilient and sustainable agricultural water use. The principles presented in this paper will assist policymakers in designing more effective water productivity interventions. It is also intended for a broad range of actors working on agriculture water use. This includes policymakers and decision-makers who are designing national or basin scale interventions to address water scarcity and stakeholders who would be impacted by these programs.

The WASAG working group on Sustainable Agricultural Water Use prepared this White Paper synthesizing discussions held at the WASAG workshop titled “Can Water Productivity Improvements Save Us from Global Water Scarcity?” held on 25-26 February 2020 at CIHEAM Bari in Valenzano, Italy. Additional feedback was then received by WASAG partners. The Working Group is also planning a webinar to discuss the White Paper in September 2021.