TENSION BETWEEN FOOD AND WATER SUPPLIES
November 6, 2013
CALIFORNIA AG WATER STRESS REFLECTS GLOBAL SITUATION
Water stress is defined by the amount of water used in an area compared to its renewable supply. In highly water-stressed regions, 40 percent or more of the supply is used up annually; when that ratio reaches 80 percent, it’s considered extreme. In addition to hurting agriculture production, a stressed supply also affects water managers’ ability to respond to droughts and other severe or chronic shortages.
|Current Water Risk, Featuring California View (Source: WRI)|
By 2050, the world will need about 60 percent more calories annually to feed 9 billion people. Cutting current food loss and waste levels in half would shrink the size of this food gap by 22 percent.
That is why WRI is working on mapping how the world’s relationship with water will be changing in the coming decades and identifying sustainable solutions to increase food production.
|Projected Water Risk, Featuring California View (Source: WRI)|
- Reduced food loss and waste (Nearly 25% of global food calories produced go uneaten.)
- Improved storage methods
- Food redistribution
- Better food date labels
- Reduced portion sizes
- Consumer awareness campaigns
- Collaboration on solutions
- Food loss and waste reduction targets
- Collaborative initiatives
- Shift to healthier diets
- Reduced biofuel demand
- Achieved low replacement fertility rates (population growth)
- Increased crop yields through better soil and water management.
- Better data on where and how agriculture is water-constrained provides a tool for a more robust agricultural sector that does not overtax water and other natural resources.
- So, while California’s agricultural water situation is dire, particularly in the Central Valley, unfortunately, we are NOTalone.
Lindsay Abrams, Salon
World Resources Institute/Coco Cola Corporation
WRI is a global research organization that works closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain a healthy environment—the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being.