New FAO Water Report on real water savings with crop water productivity interventions

10 May, 2021

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launches a new Water Report “Guidance on realizing real water savings with crop water productivity interventions”, that includes clear and practical guidelines on how to implement ‘real’ water savings in agriculture through interventions for enhancing crop water productivity.

A distinction is made between real water savings and “apparent” water savings. Apparent water savings record reductions in water withdrawals but do not account for changes in water consumption. However, real water savings record reductions in water consumption and non-recoverable return flows (runoff or percolation). This guidance document emphasizes the paradox of water savings at field and basin scales, which usually do not translate into increased water availability for other users as is commonly believed.

Following the concepts and guidelines presented in this report, decision-makers can improve the management of their water systems by introducing sustainable interventions to achieve real water savings.