Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Water use/consumption

Photo: Chris Happel, irrigation at dawn, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0 generic.
19 April 2017

This research identifies the major crops and countries contributing to groundwater depletion. The authors found that 11 percent of unsustainable groundwater used for irrigation is embedded in international crop trade. They highlight the main exporters and importers of these crops, and the associated risks for local and global food and water security.

Photo credit: Neil Palmer, CIAT, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
29 November 2016

This study models the water demand of land acquisitions in Africa as a function of crop choice, local climate, and irrigation scenarios. Its authors distinguish between green and blue water, equating to water from rainfall and that provided to crops by irrigation respectively. 

17 November 2016

This blog on the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) website discusses their collaboration with food multinational Mars in developing science-based sustainability targets for climate, land use, and water.

Photo credit: USDA (Flickr, creative commons licence 2.0).
9 June 2016

This paper discusses the water-energy-food nexus from a UK perspective with a focus on competing land demands.  The research, led by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, suggests that current UK policies on water, energy and food are too fragmented to effectively tackle global challenges. The paper argues that there is a need for cross-sectoral policies and for new research to focus on the nexus between sectors, scales and timeframes to address this challenge.

16 February 2016

The book provides an analysis of impacts of climate change on water for agriculture, and the adaptation strategies in water management to deal with these impacts.

18 January 2016

In this article, researchers from Cranfield University, UK, examine the environmental burden associated with the production, manufacturing and distribution of potatoes, pasta and rice. The aim of the research is to highlight the difference that can be made to an individual’s environmental footprint (here focusing on water use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions) by making dietary changes within food groups, rather than between them.

17 December 2015

This paper quantifies what the environmental impacts would be if the typical US diet were to shift in line with the USDA dietary recommendations. The paper has created a lot of interest and debate since it shows that shifting towards healthier diets in some cases can increase the energy, emission and water intensity of the diet. This is why we wanted to provide a more extensive summary and some commentary below. Please do read, share and add your own comments.

For a comment by the study's lead author Michelle Tom see here and for another comment by Professor Michael Hamm see here

9 November 2015

The food and agriculture (F&A) industry must increase production, availability and access to food significantly over the next ten years if it is to meet the demands of a larger, increasingly urban global population according to a new report presented by Rabobank at Expo Milano 2015.

30 September 2015

This report by the UK’s Soil Association on cotton and climate change argues that switching to organic cotton could reduce the global warming impact of cotton production by 46% compared to non-organic cotton. Cotton has been called the world’s dirtiest agricultural commodity, owing to its heavy use of insecticides and water, high GHG emissions, and land use.

3 September 2015

This paper reviewed data from six national studies to quantify food waste within the EU and its associated loss of water and nitrogen resources in the EU as well as the uncertainties of these values.

20 May 2015

This study, which assesses the food supply available to more than 140 nations with populations greater than 1 million, shows that the globalization of trade is creating instability in the food distribution system.  As the world population increases, placing increasing pressure on use of limited land and water resources, food demand has grown and globalisation has made the food supply more sensitive to environmental and market fluctuations.

19 April 2015

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reports that the Australian beef industry has reduced its environmental footprint over the past 30 years. The results are presented in a new paper in Agricultural Systems, and in a press-release MLA writes that:

26 February 2015

The report Life cycle assessment of tap water: Analysis and comparison with other beverages traces the entire life cycle from water catchment/extraction to serving it up in a glass. The report compares tap water with mineral water and other beverages and shows (unsurprisingly) that from an environmental point of view, tap water is preferable to bottled water and all other beverages. The report was produced by ESU Services – a sustainability consulting firm and commissioned by the Swiss Gas and Water Association (SVGW) in 2014.

12 February 2015

The first progress report of A Better Retailing Climate initiative has been published. It describes how retailers since 2005 have improved their performance against the environmental targets set out in the initiative, and that they have:

3 December 2014

This study aims to assess the effect of five dietary scenarios – designed to promote healthier and more sustainable eating – on the blue water scarcity footprint of UK food consumption. The objectives are to estimate the total blue water consumed in producing food commodities consumed in the UK; the contribution, and geographical concentration, to global blue water scarcity; and the potential impact of alternative healthy eating scenarios on global blue water scarcity.

Pages