Water for Food

Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute brings leadership to the World Water Forum

The challenges to ensuring we have enough water to feed our growing world population are daunting – poverty, conflict, climate change, soil erosion, lack of technology and training, and increasing demand for meat and dairy products are straining our limited water resources. More than ever, dialogue between different actors is required to develop innovative solutions through public and private actions to promote better water resource quality and sustainability.

The triennial World Water Forum is the largest international gathering to focus on water. With the overarching theme “Sharing Water,” the 8th World Water Forum proposes to foster this dialogue to promote cooperation and the exchange of knowledge and perspectives. This will be the first World Water Forum to be held in the Southern Hemisphere in Brasilia, Brazil.

The Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute is pleased to co-lead the conference track, “Water for Food” with partners in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Together, we are developing sessions to focus on the exciting new technologies and best practices to improving water and food security for our world.

Social Media Hashtags: #SharingWater #WWF8 #Water4Food

Session Titles and Descriptions:


4:00 PM – 5:30 PM Águas Claras Auditorium, Room 36

Thematic Process [OS-TP-23] Session 3.a.1
Soil and Water Conservation Practices for Improved Food Production

Soil conservation practices in agriculture are an effective way to promote a real increase in the availability of water in watersheds. Correct soil management, soil infiltration and porosity monitoring and improvement, new cropping technologies, and efficient irrigation management can help farmers to better understand water productivity and soil health conditions. However, without the direct involvement of the farmer, the information will not be put to effective use. This session will include case studies, as well as discussions on ways to successfully introduce and implement effective tools and techniques for disseminating information and technology on improving soil and water conservation practices and availability of water in river basins. SDG Goals: 6.3, 6.4, 6.6 and 2.4

Charles Wortman, Professor, Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Faculty Fellow, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute


9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Águas Claras Auditorium, Room 36

[HLP 9] Water for Food High Level Panel

From population growth and climate change to overpumping and civil conflict, the challenges to water and food security for future generations are the most urgent of our time. With From population growth and climate change, to over-pumping and civil conflict, the challenges to water and food security for future generations are among the most urgent issues of our time. With agriculture consuming the lion’s share of our freshwater resources, we must urgently find ways to intensify agricultural production while maximizing its effective use of water. There are opportunities to improve the management of water in agriculture, yet it is important to realize that as overall agricultural production will have to increase significantly both to meet the food and nutritional needs of the present population, including the demands for protein from a larger and wealthier population, therefore, the global demand on water in the sector will also continue to increase.

The Water for Food High Level Panel features leading experts with years of global policy experience in their respective areas, who represent quite different perspectives on the challenge. Together they will explore the prominent topics within water and food security and share their perspectives:

  • Technological innovations that support the increase of agricultural water productivity
  • Methods for improving the efficient use of water in agriculture and food production
  • Managing water through the food chain, including reducing food loss and food waste
  • Improvement of agricultural food markets to reduce the stress on especially water scarce ecosystems
  • Conflict resolution among multiple users of water (Urban, Industrial, Ecology, Agriculture)
  • Mining and use of big data, spatial information and in-field sensors for optimizing production
  • Improving access to and management of irrigation for smallholder farmers, where present yield gaps are greatest.
  • Enhancing water storage, including groundwater recharge to improve availability for production and increase resilience of agricultural systems.
  • Financing of Infrastructure for measuring and managing surface and groundwater

Session participants will have the opportunity to ask panelists questions and discuss pathways to advancement, which will be shared as an outcome in the Regional Process of the forum. We will also develop a summarizing document with the key messages presented by the panelists and captured from the responses to moderator and audience questions.

Moderator: Peter G. McCornick, Executive Director of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, University of Nebraska

  • Blairo Maggi, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply of Brazil
  • Claudia Sadoff, Director General, International Water Management Institute
  • Celestino Zanella, Farmer and Irrigator, President of AIBA, The Association of Farmers and Irrigators of Bahia, Brazil
  • Isabel García Tejerina, Minister of Agricultura, Pesca, Alimentacion e Medio Ambiente of Spain
  • Mauricio Antonio Lopes, President of EMBRAPA, Brazil

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Room 22

Thematic Process [OS-TP-23] Session 3.a.2
Water for Food Processing: Waste Reduction, Optimization and Reuse

One-third of all food is wasted as it moves from field to fork. Besides the economic costs, wasted food consumes a quarter of all water used by agriculture annually, while putting pressure on land and energy resources. Thus, cutting food waste could get us closer to feeding 9 billion people by 2050. This session will explore strategies for accounting and reducing food losses in the supply chain, while integrating opportunities for water optimization and reuse in the food-processing sector as an additional approach to reduce waste. These strategies will be analyzed using tools and comparison metrics for the decision making process. SDG Goals: 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6

Yulie Meneses, Research Assistant Professor, Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Water for Food Processing Specialist, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Room 22

Thematic Process [OS-TP-24] Session 3.a.3
Floods, Droughts, Wind, Fire: Building Resilient Agricultural Systems

Changing climate will pose additional challenges to agriculture, livestock and food production systems with more frequent climatic extremes. Building resilience to these events includes a number of conservation practices as well as the use of information resources and biotechnology. The introduction of better soil and water conservation practices, the development crop varieties resistant to drought and other stresses, the introduction of sustainable irrigation systems and the implementation of climate monitoring and early warning systems are some of the ways we can ensure food security despite uncertain climatic conditions. This session will explore some of these techniques along with infrastructure needs and information systems to improve resilience in agricultural areas. (109 words) SDG Goals: 13.1, 13.3, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 6.4

Mark Svoboda, Climatologist; Director, National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Faculty Fellow, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM Arena 2, Room 11

Regional Process [OS-RP-34]
Lessons in Sustainable Groundwater Management from the Mid and West U.S.

Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach in water management, we offer lessons learned from nine case studies that span six western U.S. states, capturing the different physical, political, and socio-economic contexts that influence management strategies and tools. Each study offers fresh and unique insight for water managers—a sort of toolbox—on how they could adapt proven methodologies to best fit their own local context. Some key solutions explored in the report include scenarios from Colorado, Nebraska and Arizona, USA.
Developing and implementing groundwater policy isn’t easy. In fact, it took some of the places mentioned in the case studies decades and a lot of expertise and investment to get to where they are today. But the basins obligated to comply with water usage regulations—not to mention regions around the world struggling to meet water demands—have an advantage: they can learn from the experiences of water managers across the American West.

Moderator: Nick Brozović, Director of Policy, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute


  • Kate Gibson, Program Associate, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute
  • John Berge, Manager, North Platte Natural Resources District
  • Scott Snell, Public Relations Manager, Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District


11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Room 28

Development [OS-TP-31] Session 3.d.1
Efficient Use of Water through Governance

Proper management of surface and groundwater is a strategic mechanism to promote efficient water use. In many countries, surface and groundwater are managed separately due to political, social, geographical and historical precedents. This session will explore the existing and emerging opportunities for effectively engaging stakeholders in the planning and implementation of coordinated water management to promote efficiency use of water with social, environment and economic approaches.

John Berge, Manager of the North Platte Natural Resources District (USA)

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Mercure Brasilia Lider Hotel, VIP Room

Advancing farmer-led solutions for increasing smallholder productivity

Invitational meeting to discuss next steps in furthering the topic of farmer-led irrigation for smallholder farmers, based on information shared at the Water for Food International Forum held in Washington, DC, late January.

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Room 41

Side Event [SE 47]
Water Accounting for Water Governance and Sustainable Development

In many river basins, lack of progress towards sustainable development can be traced to constraints imposed by limited availability and access to water. This session follows the accepted view that barriers to economic growth, food production, poverty reduction and environmental protection can be mitigated through good water governance. But good water governance needs underpinning by a clear understanding of hydrological processes, more and better quality data, and a means of interpreting it for a wide range of professionals across the water and water-using sectors, to provide common understanding and agreement on the means of improving water management. Water accounting can help in improving management and governance of scarce water resources. It is hoped that the session will stimulate interest at political level in the vital role water accounting can play.

Christopher Neale, Director of Research, Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute


9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Room 36

Special Session [SS-TP-05]
Multi-stakeholder Dialogue: Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus and SDGs Implementation

Building on key milestones from Stockholm (WWW 2016) and Cancun (WWC 2017) promoting WEF Nexus as a foundation for SDGs implementation, the objectives of this special session are to:

  • Share WEF Nexus lessons learned across scales and sectors toward SDGs implementation;
  • Facilitate dialogue between funding agencies, banks, academics, private sector, public sector, technology providers, entrepreneurs and civil society on the role of WEF Nexus in SDGs implementation; and
  • Discuss ways to improve policy coherence across WEF sectors and across scale. Facilitated audience engagement will encourage dialogue between funding agencies, banks, academics, private/public sectors, technology providers, entrepreneurs and civil society on the role of WEF Nexus in SDGs implementation, with the goal of addressing key questions:
  1. How can scientific tools, technology (in particular information, communication technology) data, and case studies contribute coherence to WEF systems / SDGs implementation?
  2. What policies and incentives are needed to promote implementation of SDGs in the context of WEF systems?
  3. What are some successful, cross-scale, governance and technological lessons?
  4. How can we communicate the WEF systems complexities and share positive messaging, while maintaining momentum towards change for a sustainable future?
  5. How do we maintain the integrity of human rights issues in the context of WEF systems solutions?
  6. How can opportunities be better promoted and coordinated between cross-sectoral players, at different scales?

Panel discussions will identify, for different stakeholders, opportunities associated with investment in Nexus solutions; the roles of public/private sectors, entrepreneurs and banks in their implementation, financing, and governance; and the types of interventions to be carried forward. Documentation will include: white paper summarizing discussions and conclusions; factsheets available to participants and published on line; video focused on Nexus dimensions and including farmers, global nexus chokepoints and interviews.

Session Participants:

  • Jerson Kelman, Chief Executive Officer, Companhia de Saneamento Básico do Estado de São Paulo – SABESP, Brazi
  • Claudia Sadoff, Director General, IWMI
  • Claude Nahon, Executive Vice President, Sustainable Development, EDF Group
  • Gustavo Fonseca, Director of Programs, Global Environment Facility
  • Jean Comby, ESF
  • Dominique Darmendrail, Scientific Advisor, ANR
  • Katharine Cross, Programme Manager, Basins of the Future, IWA
  • Patrick Lavarde, President, IWRA
  • Thadeu Abicalil, Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
  • Co-organized by the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and other partners


    The institute will have a booth at the World Water Forum’s Exhibit Hall to enhance visibility, share information and provide a location for networking during the event. The space will be in proximity to other U.S.-based water and food institutions, building the presence of the U.S. at the forum.

    Booth #E28K

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