By Christopher Hartley, Deputy Director and Senior Environmental Markets Analyst, Office of Environmental Markets, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Washington, D.C. and Genevieve Bennett, Senior Associate, Ecosystem Marketplace Hartley is a featured speaker at the 2017 Water for Food Global Conference. He is involved in the sessions, “Water Frontiers I: Drought, Water Risk and the Context… [Read More]
July 16, 2015
This summer’s Water and Natural Resources Tour included nearly 70 participants, from college students to retired farmers, and most with a firm background in water quality and quantity issues – except for me. As a 19-year-old undergrad student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), I set out with a vague awareness of the water issues facing Nebraska and neighboring state irrigators, but nothing to the extent that was presented on tour. Read More
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
April 23, 2015
We need a bigger table. There will be over 200,000 more people at the global dinner table tonight than were there last night. By 2050, there will be nearly 10 billion people to feed on this planet. But our population is not only growing, it’s growing wealthier, with increasing demand for food — especially meat and dairy products, requiring more agricultural production and water use. As a result of population increases and rising incomes, total food demand will likely double by 2050 (Earth Policy Institute, 2014). Read More
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, 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 has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as “World Day for Water”.Read More
January 16, 2015
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) released a report on the status of the High Plains Aquifer, the largest aquifer in North America and the aquifer that underlies eight states and supplies one-third of the groundwater pumped annually within the United States.
The report highlights that there are some locations in which the High Plains Aquifer has been severely depleted, with the water table dropping more than 150 feet in parts of Kansas and Texas. In other locations, the water levels have remained fairly stable, as is the case in Nebraska. Read More
April 29, 2014
For one thing, the aquifer that most think of — one of the world’s largest that underlies parts of eight U.S. states — is technically not the Ogallala Aquifer, but the High Plains Aquifer.
“That’s been a source of confusion,” said hydrogeologist Jim Goeke, professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “We use the names interchangeably, but they’re not the same. We have other productive aquifers in Nebraska in hydraulic connection that encompass the entire High Plains Aquifer.”
But the name aside, what bothers Goeke more is the common misinformation he encounters about aquifers, especially the High Plains. Read More
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
February 18, 2014
The concept of resilience, first introduced in the 1970s, has become a hot topic, reaching beyond its ecological roots to other fields, including water and food systems. But resilience researchers and food productivity experts don’t necessarily speak the same language and greater collaboration would benefit future water and food security as well as natural ecosystems, said Craig Allen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln wildlife ecologist and DWFI fellow.
Last week, Allen and other members of the Resilience Alliance, an international, multi-disciplinary network of researchers, met with DWFI’s Christopher Neale in Paris to develop a collaborative large-scale research project that brings a resilience focus to food production. The three-day meeting is a direct result of networking that began at the 2013 Water for Food Conference, which focused on building resilient agroecosystems. Read More