Water In The Agricultural Sector

Water In The Agricultural Sector

WaterThe agriculture sector is depending on water and increasingly subject to risk of water shortage. Agriculture is the largest user and major polluter of water. Improving agriculture water management is essential to becoming sustainable and productive in the agro-food sector.

In recent years, the agricultural regions around the world have been subject to extensive and increasing water constraints. With climate changes that brought droughts in Chile, Unites States and other countries around the world. It has affected the agricultural production while depleting surface and groundwater reserves.

Other extreme weather events, like floods or tropical storms are expected to be more frequent. With the shifting of the climate we are going to expect greater fluctuations in the precipitations and surface water supplies, reducing snow packs and glaciers and affecting crop’s water requirements.

Farmers in many regions of the world are going to face competition from non-agricultural users due to rising urban population density and water demands from the energy and industry sectors. In addition, water quality is likely to deteriorate in many regions, due to increasing pollution activities, salination caused by rising sea levels and water supply demands.

Those challenges are going to impact the agricultural sector in turn further impact markets, trade and broader food security. Northeast China, Northwest India, and the Southwest United States will be among the most severely affected regions, with domestic and global repercussion.

It is important for the policymakers to focus on efforts to increase overall efficiency of water use by the agricultural sector. Reduce the sector’s impact on freshwater resources, improving its resilience to water risks.

Per the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) In order to facilitate a transition to a more sustainable and productive agricultural sector that is resilient to water risks, governments should act at the farm, watershed and national levels to (1) strengthen and enforce existing water regulations, (2) create incentives for farmers to improve their water use and better manage the use of polluting agricultural inputs; and (3) remove policies that support excessive use of water and polluting activities.

To assist policy makers in addressing this challenge, OECD analysis and indicators contribute to formulating policy responses and facilitating their implementation to move agriculture towards the sustainable management of water. OECD’s work on agriculture and water is also highlighted in the 2016 OECD Council Recommendation on Water.

The OECD also supported efforts in the G20 by Agriculture Ministers to adopt a declaration and action plan entitled “Towards food and water security: Fostering sustainability, advancing innovation”, which includes a number of significant commitments to improve agriculture’s water use, limit its impact on water quality, and reduce its exposure to water risks.