Photo: N. Desagher/Azote

Agriculture threatened by decreased water supply

New policy brief presents the increasing strains on water supply as agricultural production expands.

The brief, named Agriculture, Water and Ecosystems, was presented by Stockholm Resilience Centre researchers Victor Galaz and Malin Falkenmark on behalf of Stockholm International Water Institute and Swedish Water House.

It highlights the increasing strains on water supply as agricultural production is expected to expand in order to feed a growing global population.

- Increases in populations and incomes, and shifts in markets and people's preferences for particular foods, will mean that more water will be needed for food production. And, almost every increase in water used in agriculture will affect water availability for other uses - including that needed to keep ecosystems resilient in the face of change and perturbation, the brief says.

Need to reform water governance
Dr. Galaz and Malkenmark state that in the future, water governance will have to strike a balance between the water required for food and the water needed to keep ecosystems resilient.

Furthermore, new multilevel and multilevel and adaptive governance approaches must be found to:

- prevent catastrophic shifts in agroecosystems
- increase resilience in vulnerable regions and poor people to further damage from changed hydrological patterns
- prevent decreased quantity and quality of water, and loss of associated ecosystem services.

These are all necessities for livelihoods and sustainable development.

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