Water for Agriculture: Maintaining Food Security Under Growing Scarcity

Posted: 4 Jun 2010

See all articles by Mark W. Rosegrant

Mark W. Rosegrant

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Claudia Ringler

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Tingju Zhu

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: November 2009

Abstract

Irrigated agriculture is the main source of water withdrawals, accounting for around 70% of all the world's freshwater withdrawals. The development of irrigated agriculture has boosted agricultural yields and contributed to price stability, making it possible to feed the world's growing population. Rapidly increasing nonagricultural demands for water, changing food preferences, global climate change, and new demands for biofuel production place increasing pressure on scarce water resources. Challenges of growing water scarcity for agriculture are heightened by the increasing costs of developing new water, soil degradation, groundwater depletion, increasing water pollution, the degradation of water-related ecosystems, and wasteful use of already developed water supplies. This article discusses the role of water for agriculture and food security, the challenges facing irrigated agriculture, and the range of policies, institutions, and investments needed to secure adequate access to water for food today and in the future.

Suggested Citation

Rosegrant, Mark W. and Ringler, Claudia and Zhu, Tingju, Water for Agriculture: Maintaining Food Security Under Growing Scarcity (November 2009). Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 34, pp. 205-222, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1599085 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.environ.030308.090351

Mark W. Rosegrant (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifpri.org/srstaff/rosegram.htm

Claudia Ringler

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Tingju Zhu

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

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