Present and future water requirements for feeding humanity

Author(s): Falkenmark, M., Rockström, J., and Karlberg, L.
In: Food Security 1: 59-69.
Year: 2009
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Landscapes
Link to centre authors: Falkenmark, Malin, Rockström, Johan
Full reference: Falkenmark, M., Rockström, J., Karlberg, L., (2009). Present and future water requirements for feeding humanity. Food Security 1: 59-69.

Publication overview

The Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture recommended that future food production should be concentrated on existing agricultural land in order to avoid further loss of ecosystem functions from terrestrial lands.

This paper is a green-blue water analysis of water constraints and opportunities for global food production on current croplands (including permanent pasture).

It assesses, for the target year 2050, (1) how far improved land and water management would go towards achieving global food security, (2) the water deficits that would remain in water scarce regions aiming at food self-sufficiency, (3) how those water deficits may be met by food imports, (4) the cropland expansion required in low income countries without the needed purchasing power for such imports, and (5) the proportion of that expansion pressure which will remain unresolved due to potential lack of accessible land.

The water surplus remaining on current cropland is compared with water requirements for biofuel production as a competing activity.


Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201