Water, Water, Everywhere?
Growing populations, waste, climate change and pollution are some of the things that are making fresh water scarce in many places. Fortunately, there are people hard at work trying to make sure that we have an adequate supply in the future.
The latest FutureFood 2050 interview series focuses on the relationship between fresh water, and explores new strategies for smart water management that will help increase the world’s food supply.
A project of the Institute of Food Technologists, FutureFood 2050 provides insights from the world’s leading experts.
Nine Countries Hold 60% of the World’s Available Fresh Water
The insights they provide include:
Less than 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh, and its distribution is far from even around the world.
Nine countries have 60% of the available fresh water, reports the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
These include Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Russia and the United States.
Agriculture accounts for 70% of all water use, so there’s a direct relationship between the availability of fresh water and our food supply.
The USA Is One of Them, But We Shouldn’t Be Cocky
Now, just because the U.S.A. is among those lucky countries that have most of the world’s fresh water, we Americans should not be over-confident.
After all, just look at what’s happening in California, where severe drought conditions have become so severe that the state is mandating the most sever water restrictions seen in half a century.
Consider how much of America’s fruits and vegetables come from California, and you can see that we Americans have some fresh water issues of our own. The state produces 90% of the leaf lettuce we eat, 2/3 of our carrots, and 1/3 of our fresh tomatoes – and that’s just a partial list.
Replacing California’s ag production (by increasing production in other states) would prove to be a truly daunting task.
Save the Water
Fortunately, there are other solutions. The most promising among them are ways to grow crops using less water. These include rainfall harvesting, subsurface drip irrigation and water reclaimation.
The problem is, we only react when things reach a crisis stage. This has already happened in California, and it might happen in other states.
But here’s the silver lining: perhaps the solutions implemented in California will prove to be of benefit to the rest of the country, and the world, as new technologies are invented, refined and implemented.
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