Water for food: innovative water management technologies for food security and poverty alleviation

Modern irrigation is one of the success stories of the 20th century. As the world’s population doubled, irrigated farming expanded from 40 million ha to almost 300 million ha today – a seven-fold increase. This revolution in water technology increased food production through improved crop yields and enabled farmers to grow additional crops each year. China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan together account for almost half the world’s irrigated area and they rely on irrigation for more than half their domestic food
production.  But the world’s population continues to grow, mostly in the LDCs, and so do concerns about food security and particularly the availability of water to grow crops. Global agricultural food production already accounts for 70 per cent of all water withdrawn from rivers and aquifers. Climate change will only make matters worse. Can agricultural water management (AWM) technologies provide innovative solutions that can help to meet this challenge of feeding a growing, mostly disadvantaged,
population by producing more food but with fewer resources? This paper reviews the water-food-poverty nexus and examines the role that AWM technologies may play in achieving world food and water security.