Is water scarcity a constraint to feeding Asia's growing population? uri icon

abstract

  • Growing population and wealth, as measured by per capita GDP, are predicted to put water resources and food production in Asia under increasing pressure over the next few decades. Critical factors include the increasing demand for animal proteins in diets and the growing need for energy. Climate change impacts may further reduce available water resources because of greater evaporation losses in some areas and storms and floods in others. If we are to overcome these significant constraints on food production, we must turn to strategies that are focused around sustainable intensification of agriculture. These include modernization of old irrigation schemes to increase water productivity, innovative concepts that capture and store flood runoff for use in agriculture, much more recycling and reuse of urban wastewater, and other efficiency-improvement techniques. However, these will not happen in a policy vacuum, and it is argued that reforms are needed in water policy, water training and water management institutions across Asia.

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014