Water for Food


Student Interns work on Platte Basin Timelapse Project

This summer two undergraduate interns worked on projects associated with the Platte Basin Timelapse Project with funding in part from the Water for Food Institute. The students provided the following blog postings to showcase some of their experiences. Dream Job: Day One By Carlee Koehler The day started how one would expect when setting off… [Read More]

Learning about the Water-Energy-Food nexus in Nebraska

By Paul Noël, Program Associate The “water-energy-food nexus” is a hot topic among researchers at the moment. At the Water for Food Institute, we’ve been working with our partners on a variety of projects to understand the connections between water use, energy use, and agricultural production — and how different management approaches impact the human… [Read More]

Visiting scholars get crash course in Nebraska water management, instream flow issues

August 3, 2015

A Diversion near North Platte, Nebraska.

Many rivers and creeks in the Western United States are over-allocated, with consistently more demand on their waters than is available. This can lead to several issues between competing users, especially in years of drought: transboundary water conflicts, threats to public water supply and perilous conditions for species that depend on river habitats. Various mechanisms have been used to address these challenges, which include interstate compacts, state and federal Endangered Species Acts and local water management institutions. But when these mechanisms are absent or don’t do enough to preserve streamflow, local water trusts and environmental nonprofits have acted to supplement streamflow for wildlife. Read More

UNL students experience European Water Tour

July 24, 2015

Isaiah Krutak

Two University of Nebraska- Lincoln graduate students recently completed a two-week international field course through UNESCO-IHE, an international institute for water education based in Delft, The Netherlands. UNESCO-IHE equips graduates with the knowledge, skills and competencies they need to address current and future challenges for sustainable local, regional and global water management, with a particular focus on a development context. Read More

15th World Water Congress highlights water as a resource for global development

June 25, 2015


The World Water Congress, organized by the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), is one of the most important global events in the water field. Held every three years since 1973, the Congress provides a single forum for experts in water-related fields from around the world. It allows participants to share experiences and to present new knowledge, research, and developments related to water resources. Read More

Perspectives on Achieving a Water and Food Secure Future

April 29, 2015


At the 7th World Water Forum in South Korea, many of the world’s top researchers and leaders in the water and food sectors gathered to share ideas and progress toward ensuring a water and secure future. With an expected population growth of 10 billion by 2050, our food production will need to nearly double to meet global demands. Read More

World Water Day 2015 – Managing our Water Future: Innovation for Water and Sustainable Development

March 22, 2015


Water is arguably our most precious natural resource, and particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, as well as to the increasing demand for food as our global population grows to 9.6 billion by 2050. Economies and incomes are growing, fueling a revolution in global agriculture that will likely result in nearly a doubling of demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel in the next 35 years.

Currently 70 percent of extracted freshwater worldwide is used for agriculture production. In the absence of progress, water use for agriculture is estimated to grow to 89 percent by 2050,[1] which is clearly untenable given other critical water demands. We must take action to improve how we use, conserve and manage our water supply so that future generations have the opportunity to access sufficient and sustainable sources of food and agriculture products. Read More

World Water Day – info and resources

World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as “World Day for Water”.Read More

The Awakening to the Water for Food Challenge

November 12, 2014

Suat Irmak

As I write this blog post, I am coming off of a very strong and high-quality dialogue of the 2014 Global Water for Food Conference convened by the University of Nebraska Daugherty Water for Food Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This was the 6th Global Water for Food Conference, but the first to be held outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. It was a rousing success with approximately 275 leaders from 32 countries around the world dialoguing for three days on the thematic topic of “Harnessing the Data Revolution” around water sustainability in agriculture and food. The conference was also supported with sponsorship from Monsanto, Syngenta, the Daugherty Foundation, the Global Water Initiative, and the Nebraska Corn Board. Read More

“Big Data” is Critical to a Water and Food Secure World

November 3, 2014

Ronnie Green

Water, data, and agricultural productivity were on the agenda at the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute’s 6th Annual Conference in Seattle, Washington, earlier this month. (The Water for Food Institute is a consultative partner of the Global Harvest Initiative.) Co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the conference attracted more than 250 participants from 25 countries. In his welcoming remarks, Roberto Lenton, founding executive director of the Daugherty Water for Food Institute, told attendees, “the data revolution can help with the productivity and sustainability of farming systems, both large and small, around the world.” Read More

Data one part of harnessing the data revolution

October 22 2014

Ken Cassman

The Water for Food Global Conference in Seattle has concluded, and we’re heading back to Nebraska with new ideas and fresh perspectives on the ways in which data has the opportunity to improve water and food security.

But the data itself is only one piece of harnessing the data revolution, as experts made clear throughout three days of presentations and panel discussions. Read More

5 Data Tools Used to Harness the Data Revolution

October 21 2014

Ken Cassman

The second day of the 2014 Water for Food Global Conference has wrapped. Today, the discussion shifted toward specific tools being used around the world to Harness the Data Revolution. Read More

6 Ways Big Data Helps Improve Global Water and Food Security

October 20 2014

Jeff Raikes

Jeff Raikes, former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, said it’s not hyperbole to say that global society is experiencing a data revolution. But that the revolution has yet to reach agriculture.

It’s not surprising the former Microsoft Corp. executive believes in the power of technology, and in particular Big Data. But it’s his experience as the son of a farmer to focus on how technology can help farmers increase yields, improve their livelihoods and collectively meet the food production needs of the world’s people. Read More

Water for Food Global Conference kicks off in Seattle

October 19, 2014

Rolando Flores

The sixth annual Water for Food Global Conference is underway in Seattle, Wash. USA. More than 250 participants and 23 countries are represented at this year’s event, which is focused on the use of data to improve global water and food security. Read More

2014 Water for Food Global Conference Speakers

October 16, 2014


Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska

October 13th, 2014



Advanced Water Management for Food Program – Evordius Rulazi

September 16th, 2014



Water for Food Faculty Fellows – Environment

June 26, 2014


The Elephant in the Room

May 27, 2014

Roberto Lenton, Founding Executive Director for the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, introduced the “Water for Food” panel discussion at Water for Our Future, an event helping shape the agenda for the 7th World Water Forum. Photo credit: ©WWF/McNamara.

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on water for food at Water for our Future, a lead-up event to the triennial World Water Forum to be held April 2015. The lively panel discussion was wide-ranging and informative – and to me, at least, very encouraging. I was particularly cheered by three aspects of the discussion. Read More


Nebraska-based 2013 Water for Food Conference presenters, their location and topic

April 9, 2014

Nebraska-based 2013 Water for Food Conference presenters, their location and topic


Norman Borlaug bucked conventional wisdom, and inspired a generation

March 25, 2014


Years ago, I found myself high in the Andes, hours from anywhere, at a research station to visit barley plots. While waiting for my Peruvian host, I wandered over to a small plaque commemorating the station’s opening. And there, prominently displayed, was Norman Borlaug’s name. He’d given the dedication speech at this remote research station years earlier.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Norman Borlaug touched people’s lives in all corners of the world. And while he was a great scientist widely recognized as the father of the Green Revolution, the 1970s agricultural movement that broadly expanded food production, he was also a modest man who gave tremendous energy and enthusiasm to training and supporting others, whom he called “revolutionaries.” Read More

Celebrating World Water Day: Thinking Broadly, Acting Specifically

March 21, 2014


At World Water Week in Stockholm last September, I participated in a session designed to foster a dialog between senior and young professionals. I was, needless to say, in the “senior” category. We’d been tasked with discussing the water/food/energy “Nexus Approach” and were given a set of questions in advance. The lively conversation raised many interesting points. It also exposed a fundamental difference in thinking that helps illuminate a debate I’ve seen intensifying in development circles.

As World Water Day and its water and energy theme are celebrated around the world tomorrow, it is timely to reflect on ways to approach nexuses in ways that are practical and expansive, rather than restrictive. Read More

Book Review: Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster

March 13, 2014


Few topics in our national story are as pervasive and fundamental as water resources development – the federal (and sometimes local) government’s investment in the physical manipulation of our rivers, shores, lakes and wetlands. Whether as developer of engineering projects or licensor of private enterprises, these federal initiatives touch every aspect of human activity. Many have brought positive changes: facilitating trade and commerce, developing hydroelectricity as an alternative to coal, expanding agricultural opportunity and creating aesthetic attractions. But the scale and ubiquity of water projects alter the biophysical, social and economic landscapes, and have resulted in serious negative consequences. Read More

2013 Water for Food Conference Highlights

March 11th, 2014


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Proceedings of the 2013 Water for Food Conference now available

March 5, 2014

WFI812 Proceedings FINAL-1_Page_01

DWFI has launched The Proceedings of the 2013 Water for Food Conference. The report summarizes the presentations and discussions that took place when a diverse array of more than 450 experts and practitioners from 24 countries assembled to explore the theme: Too Hot, Too Wet, Too Dry: Building Resilient Agroecosystems.

The 2013 Conference focused on climate change and variability and what can be done to adapt to changing climatic conditions. As DWFI Director Roberto Lenton noted in the Proceedings’ preface: “…the message was clear: climate change is real and the scientific evidence is compelling. We urgently need to find better ways of mitigating and adapting to floods, droughts and the effects of climate extremes.” Read more

2013 Water for Food Conference presenters, countries represented and their topic

February 26, 2014

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Save the date for the 2014 Global Water for Food Conference

February 6th, 2014

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