“Amid the sobering news contained in the recently released IPCC report titled Climate Change and Land, which focuses on food security, are prescriptions for actions people and institutions can take to mitigate – and adapt to – the threats the world now faces. As the report notes, among the greatest of these threats is growing stress on freshwater supplies essential to the production of food,” says David Feldman, University of California, Irvine professor of urban policy & public planning and director, Water UCI. “Agriculture currently accounts for around 70 percent of total global freshwater demand, largely due to population growth and changes in per capita food consumption. While threats to freswater availability will become most severe in areas already undergoing intensive water use and chronic drought (e.g., drylands and other semi-arid regions), options can be adopted to lessen the pain.”
He describes the “prudent measures” we can take, ranging from technical refinements such as greater use of drip- and other forms of micro-irrigation, better soil management and minimizing land degradation, to behavior changes. The latter include adjusting dietary choices away from water-intensive food products, reducing post-harvest losses and food waste, and adopting policies that encourage innovations.
“One policy reform we could adopt,” Feldman says, “is ending gender inequality in water management. Women are the primary bearers of domestic water supplies in many developing nations, have special knowlege regarding where and how to find clean water and possess authority for managing household uses. By pursuing such options, the report reminds us, we can also help eradicate poverty, elminate world hunger and better ensure social justice.”
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