1st Edition

Water for Food Water for Life A Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture

Edited By David Molden Copyright 2007

    Managing water resources is one of the most pressing challenges of our times - fundamental to how we feed 2 billion more people in coming decades, eliminate poverty, and reverse ecosystem degradation. This Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, involving more than 700 leading specialists, evaluates current thinking on water and its interplay with agriculture to help chart the way forward. It offers actions for water management and water policy - to ensure more equitable and effective use. This assessment describes key water-food-environment trends that influence our lives today and uses scenarios to explore the consequences of a range of potential investments. It aims to inform investors and policymakers about water and food choices in light of such crucial influences as poverty, ecosystems, governance, and productivity. It covers rainfed agriculture, irrigation, groundwater, marginal-quality water, fisheries, livestock, rice, land, and river basins. Ample tables, graphs, and references make this an invaluable work for practitioners, academics, researchers, and policymakers in water management, agriculture, conservation, and development. Published with IWMI.

    Summary for Decisionmakers * Part I: Setting the Scene * Setting the Scene * Part II: Trends and Scenarios * Trends in Water and Agricultural Development * Looking Ahead to 2050: Scenarios of Alternative Investment Approaches * Part III: Integrating Issues * Reversing the Flow: Agricultural Water Management Pathways for Poverty Reduction * Policy and Institutional Reform: the Art of the Possible * Agriculture, Water, and Ecosystems: Avoiding the Costs of Going Too Far * Pathways for Increasing Agricultural Water Productivity * Part IV: Thematic Issues * Managing Water in Rainfed Agriculture * Reinventing Irrigation * Groundwater: A Global Assessment of Scale and Significance * Agricultural Use of Marginal-Quality Water-Opportunities and Challenges * Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture * Water and Livestock for Human Development * Rice: Feeding the Billions * Conserving Land-Protecting Water * River Basin Development and Management


    David Molden is Deputy Director General, Research, at the International Water Management Institute and Coordinator of the Comprehensive Assessment for Water Management in Agriculture. His passion for water issues was sparked while helping villagers organize to develop a drinking water well in Lesotho. With a PhD from Colorado State University, United States, and specialties in groundwater hydrology and irrigation, has since developed broader interests in integrating social and technical aspects of water management. Has lived and worked closely with local communities and governments in Botswana, Egypt, India, Lesotho, and Nepal.

    'Overall, one of the most remarkable books on this topic - it should become a classic text and a necessity in the library. The first must-buy book of 2007.' Environmental and Ecological Education, British Ecological Society 'A wake-up call to policymakers, bringing attention, understanding, and ultimately hope to the crucial need for better agricultural water management in all its forms to feed future generations and sustain thriving rural communities and ecosystems.' Peter Lee, President, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage 'The world water crisis has caught us unawares, with a series of local hydrological pinchpoints rapidly escalating into a global pandemic of empty rivers, dry boreholes, and wrecked wetlands as profound as, and often linked to, climate change. The water crisis has badly needed its equivalent of the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And for the two-thirds of the world's water that is used for agriculture, the Comprehensive Assessment provides just that. Timely, forensic, and unflinching in its analysis, forward thinking and strategic in its search for practical solutions, this is a landmark.' Fred Pearce, Author of When The Rivers Run Dry and frequent contributor to NewScientist 'This assessment is critical. Not only because it concerns a critical life resource like water. But because it involves an assessment that is comprehensive, analytical, and timely. The issue must become the world's obsession: growing and eating food that is water-prudent. I would encourage, indeed urge, you to use this rich and rigorous assessment to make changes in policy and practice.' Sunita Narain, Stockholm Water Prize Winner 2005, Director, Centre for Science and Environment 'A wake-up call to policy makers bringing attention, understanding and ultimately hope to the crucial need for better agricultural water management in all its forms, to feed future generations and sustain thriving rural communities and ecosystems.' Peter Lee, President, ICID 'This timely assessment provides valuable guidance for policymakers, planners, and practitioners the world over. Yes, there is enough water, but is there enough willpower? Sandra Postel, Author of 'Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last?, and co-author of 'Rivers for Life: Managing Water for People and Nature' 'This is perhaps the most extraordinary recipe book ever produced: take one world already being exhausted by 6 billion people; find the ingredients to feed another two billion people; add in demand for more food, more animal feed, more fuel, and use only the same amount of water the planet has had since Creation. Don't forget to restore the environment that sustains us. Stir very carefully.' Margaret Catley-Carlson, Chair, Global Water Partnership 'This report is a timely assessment of global water resources from the standpoint of food security, poverty reduction and livelihoods generation.' India Together 'David Molden´┐Żs book is a handy book and very constructive for readers especially for people who want to prepare social, environmental and economic assessment on water... This book is organized comprehensively catering to all aspects of water sectors and offers innovative approaches to enable institutions to formulate and implement new policies.' Bookshelf 'Very comprehensive study', Spore 2007.