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Issue 15
, 2009
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Wise management of water could reduce future food crises

Source: Science Daily, Date: , 2009

According to a team of Swedish and German scientists, the challenge of meeting future water needs, under the impact of climate change and rapidly growing human demands for water, may be less bleak than widely portrayed. If the overall water resources in river basins are acknowledged and managed better, even the future food crises could be significantly reduced, say researchers from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. The current approach to water management considers only blue water, which 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 these conditions, over three billion of the current world population is estimated to suffer from severe water scarcity. But, the new analysis also takes into account green water—the water in soil that comes directly from rainfall. It suggests that the actual number of people that may suffer from water scarcity is under one billion. The study 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 the poor countries of the world. Our analysis shows that many water-short countries would be able to produce enough food for their population if green water is considered and managed well,’ say the researchers.