“Water is life,” said Deborah Hamlin, CEO of the Irrigation Association. It was a sentiment shared by 400-some participants who gathered from across Nebraska, throughout the U.S. and from more than a dozen countries to learn how the power of water can sustainably grow enough food for our world’s rapidly increasing population. The participants were part of DWFI’s ninth Water for Food Global Conference (WFGC) held April 29–30 at Nebraska Innovation Campus.
“It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and energy of people from all over the world sharing innovative ideas and perspectives on water and food and rising to the challenge of transforming these into impacts,” said Peter G. McCornick, DWFI executive director.
The conference title, “Water for a Hungry World: Innovation in Water and Food Security,” highlighted the focus on emerging breakthroughs in research and technology that are fueling the future of agricultural water management and increased productivity.
In the course of two days, scientists, government agency directors, nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, water managers, policymakers, farmers, students and private industry executives listened to experts share their perspectives and attended a selection of 20 sessions.
Sessions covered a wide range of important topics, such as supporting sustainable farmer-led agriculture, innovations in irrigation technology, an entrepreneurship marketplace, water reuse in food processing, and predicting and mitigating drought, as well as the intersection of water quality, nutrition and climate change.
The conference closed with a Heuermann Lecture by Mark Rosegrant, IFPRI research fellow, who spoke about the recently released report “From Scarcity to Security: Managing Water for a Nutritious Food Future,” sponsored by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs with input from DWFI Executive Director Peter G. McCornick.
A “Women for Water” side event was held the following day, May 1, with more than 100 participants discussing a variety of topics related to agricultural water management and the opportunities for women in this field.