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Better water use could reduce future food crises
Date:5/5/2009

If the overall water resources in river basins were acknowledged and managed better, future food crises could be significantly reduced, say researchers from Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Stockholm Environment Institute and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The challenge of meeting future water needs under the impacts of climate change and rapidly growing human demands for water may be less bleak than widely portrayed. An analysis by a team of Swedish and German scientists quantifies for the first time the opportunities of effectively using both "green" and "blue" water to adapt to climate change and to feed the future world population. The study was recently published in the journal "Water Resources Research".

The current approach to water management considers only blue water, that is river discharge and groundwater. According to the researchers, this limits the options to deal with increasing water scarcity and water risks induced by climate change. Under those conditions, over three billion of the current world population are estimated to suffer from severe water scarcity. The new analysis which additionally accounts for green water, that is water in the soil that stems directly from rainfall, suggests that the actual number is under one billion. It also shows that wise water management can lift billions out of water poverty.

"This opens a new area of investments for climate adaptation and a window to achieve a much needed new green revolution in poor countries in the world. Our analysis shows that many water-short countries are able to produce enough food for their populations if green water is considered and managed well," the researchers report. Their article, entitled "Future water availability for global food production: The potential of green water for increasing resilience to global change", changes fundamentally the conventional bleak estimations for future water scarcity in the wor
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Contact: Maria Erlandsson
maria.erlandsson@kommunikation.su.se
46-702-308-891
Swedish Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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