Integrated water management approaches for sustainable food production

De Fraiture, Charlotte; Fayrap, Aynur; Unver, Olcay; Ragab, Ragab. 2014 Integrated water management approaches for sustainable food production. Irrigation and Drainage, 63 (2). 221-231.

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With a growing and increasingly wealthy and urban population, it is likely that the role of agricultural water management in ensuring food security will become more important. Pressure on water resources is high. Adverse environmental impacts as a result of sometimes poor management of irrigation and drainage are well documented, calling into question the sustainability of some of the current water management practices. Water, food, energy and climate are intrinsically connected. Greater pressure on water resources and, hence, stronger interconnectivity between sectors sharing these resources, call for new, integrated approaches to agricultural water management. This paper explores the links between water, food, energy and climate. It then explores the role of irrigation and drainage in food production and in providing other ecosystem services that are essential for the sustainable use of natural resources. The paper argues that looking at water for food production in isolation would miss important developments outside the water sector that determine the sustainability of agricultural water management. Integrated approaches to food production are not only necessary to ensure sustainability. They also lead to higher benefits per unit of water. For example, integrating food production with other ecosystem services provided by irrigation and drainage not only contributes to sustainability, it also leads to much higher economic value of benefits. This implies breaking disciplinary boundaries and encouraging greater cooperation from planning to implementation.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Rees (from October 2014)
ISSN: 1531-0353
Additional Keywords: ecosystems services of irrigation and drainage; links between water, food, energy and climate; environmental impacts of irrigation and drainage
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 30 Mar 2015 09:09 +0 (UTC)

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