Water covers 1.4 billion cubic km worldwide. Yet, only 0.003% is available for human use. In other words, it is far from an unlimited resource. The fifth episode in Global Trends explores how to manage water in agriculture in intelligent and sustainable ways.

The world’s population is expected to increase exponentially in the coming years. In order to meet the needs of a constantly growing population, world food production will have to grow, too. And food production requires… Exactly, water!

In this brand-new episode of Global Trends, international experts gathered to discuss questions such as how we can manage the use of water in agriculture more efficiently.

 

A collective effort is required

Water is without doubt the most important resource for life on this planet, and agriculture is already the largest user of this “blue gold”.

According to Nicholas Brozović, Director of Policy for the University of Nebraska’s Water for Food Global Institute, the first thing we have to do is to raise awareness among farmers and professionals in the sector on the issue of water use in agriculture and on the need to adopt more innovative and technological methods for water management.

- It is not just about involving individual farmers: only through a broader collaboration between parties, which also involves institutions, governments, researchers, universities and professionals, can we really achieve a positive change in the use of this resource, says Brozović.

 

Solving salinization issues with technology

Did you know that it is estimated that by 2050, half of the fertile agricultural land will be salinized? The problem is serious already. Currently, there are tens of millions of farmers who suffer from increased salinity in water and soil. However, thanks to technology, this might not be a problem in the future.

Zac Gazit is the CEO of Alvátech, and shares details about the company’s new sustainable technology. This does not harm the environment and manages to use salinized water to irrigate crops and at the same time reduce the salinity of the soil during the process.

- The Alvátech treated water allows the layers of salt that form on the ground to be broken up when saline water is generally used for irrigation, allowing the substance to permeate into the soil. This device then dissociates the salt itself into its ionic components, freeing the root zone of salt and allowing the crops to grow strong and healthy, says Gazit.

 

Reusing wastewater – an affordable solution?

In areas that deal with water scarcity, the ability to reuse treated wastewater can be a way to achieve water security. Asad Qureshi is the Senior scientist in Irrigation and Water Management at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), and he shares the latest developments of his project aimed at designing solutions to renew wastewater for crops production in the Gulf.

- The costs of water treatment are very high and there is the problem of the lack of infrastructure to transport this resource from the treatment plants directly to the fields. Furthermore, a certain cultural resistance cannot be ignored. Yet, the use of these treated waters in agriculture could really be a fundamental turning point for the behavior. And not just in the Gulf, but all over the world, says Qureshi.

Want to know more about how to manage the use water more effectively within agriculture? Watch the episode here!

How will we manage the use of water in agriculture in the future? | New Global Trends episode 2