Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Water

While 72 percent of the Earth is covered in water, only 3 percent consists of precious freshwater, and of that, over two-thirds is stored in ice caps and glaciers. Currently, about 1.1 billion people chronically lack access to drinking or irrigation water, and a total of 2.7 billion experience water scarcity for at least one month of the year; this is predicted to increase in the future due to unsustainable extraction of water from aquifers and rivers, and to climate change and the growing importance of other competing uses such as industrial developments and urbanisation. Since industrial times, more than half the world’s wetlands have disappeared. Agricultural production is the major user of water, utilising some 70% of all irrigation water and its use is often highly inefficient. The agri-food sector is also a major source of water pollution, via its use of pesticides and synthetic and organic fertilisers, contributing to eutrophication.

8 May 2015

A new green energy initiative has been launched by the Japanese meat processor NH Foods. Their Global Water Engineering (GWE) Cohral plant (in Australia)will extract green energy biogas from the waste water stream of production, replacing millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed by the company factory.  It is reported that the effect of burning the methane will save the equivalent of 12,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to removing 2,700 cars from the road.

31 March 2015

This paper entitled The environmental impact of climate change adaptation on land use and water quality published in Nature Climate Change says that adaptation to climate change could have profound environmental repercussions, potentially generating further pressures and threats for both local and global ecosystems.

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.

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.

23 June 2014

This study published by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre in the journal Environmental Research Letters analyses the water footprint of agricultural production and consumption in Europe. It looks at the net virtual water import of 365 European river basins for the period between 1996-2005 based on two diet scenarios – a healthy diet based upon food-based dietary guidelines and a vegetarian diet.

27 March 2014

This study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research finds that international trade of food crops led to freshwater savings worth 2.4 billion US-Dollars in 2005 and had a major impact on local water stress. Trade of virtually embedded water, describes the amount of water used in the production of agricultural export goods.

6 February 2014

This report, jointly published by WWF and brewing company SABMiller discusses the way we govern water, food and energy resources. Changing consumption patterns and demographic pressures are increasing the risk of resource scarcity and managing these risks and building the resilience of our water, food and energy systems are  described as an essential but neglected part of development.

21 November 2013

This book presents an overview of the latest research, policy, practitioner, academic and international thinking on water security—an issue that, like water governance a few years ago, has developed much policy awareness and momentum with a wide range of stakeholders. As a concept it is open to multiple interpretations, and the authors here set out the various approaches to the topic from different perspectives.

24 July 2013

This paper models the water footprint requirements of different diets. It concludes that vegetarian diets are less water intensive (both in terms of overall water use and ‘blue’ or irrigated water use) than current average EU diets.

22 April 2013

This video, prepared for the World Water Day 2012 shows the critical impact water energy and investment repercussion for both land and people. It discusses food waste and what it means in terms of water waste.

25 March 2013

This paper finds that the water footprint of agricultural products (a definition that presumably includes non-food products) accounts for 91% of the EU’s production-related water footprint and 89% of its consumption related footpint. It argues that much more water can be saved by modifying diets and reducing food waste than through the traditional water-saving routes highlighted in mainstream awareness raising campaigns. The paper echoes others that find animal products to be particularly water intensive.

29 January 2013

A study by the University of Virginia and the Polytechnic University of Milan, and currently published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a global quantitative assessment of the water-grabbing phenomenon. The study shows that foreign land acquisition involves 62 “grabbed” countries and 41 “grabbers” and affects every continent except Antarctica.

19 November 2012

The most severe and extensive drought in at least 25 years is seriously affecting U.S. agriculture, with impacts on the crop and livestock sectors and with the potential to affect food prices at the retail level.

Keywords:
2 November 2012

The Carbon Disclosure Project also released its Global Water Report, entitled Collective responses to rising water challenges. The intention of this report is to serve as a “call to action for companies to treat water with the strategic importance it deserves; to consider the role they should play in tackling water challenges and to provide the leadership required to build a more resilient future.” Despite increased awareness and activity among some respondents, the Global 500 response rate remained static at 60% (191 companies).

Pages