Water for food production close to limits

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 05 Sep 2011

Agricultural methods need to be radically overhauled to ensure food production rises to meet increasing demand but that water resources are not depleted further by doing so, research showed on Monday.

An average 2,000-3,000 litres of water per day is needed to produce food per person

A radical overhaul of agriculture could create farms that enhance, rather than degrade, the world’s ecosystems, said a report led by the United Nations’ Environment Programme and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

“Managing water for food and ecosystems will bring great benefits, but there is no escaping the urgency of the situation,” said David Molden, deputy director general for research at IWMI.

“We are heading for disaster if we don’t change our practices from business as usual,” he added.

Water limits are close to being “reached or being breached” in areas such as northern China, India’s Punjab and western United States, said the report, entitled ‘An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water and Food Security’.

It warns that the number of people living in conditions of water scarcity could rise to 2 billion from 1.6 billion if the intensification of agriculture is not changed. Continue reading

Desertification and drought affects food security

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 14 February 2011

Increasing drought and aridity around the world, linked to climate change and land degradation, are becoming a major threat to food security and poverty reduction efforts, according to the United Nations’ anti-desertification chief.

Farmers in Africa’s Sahel region have planted trees on 5 million hectares of degraded land, since 1975

Stepping up investment in restoring degraded land and curbing desertification could work toward solving a wide range of the world’s most pressing problems – climate change, food security, water shortages and the threat of growing conflict and migration, said Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification.

“No one is unaffected by desertification,” he said in an interview with AlertNet. “It is affecting our food security, entrenching people in poverty, increasing our water stress and leading us to lose biodiversity.”

The U.N. desertification convention, a lesser-known cousin of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, aims to curb degradation of dry land around the world and the advance of deserts, a major problem in regions including Africa’s Sahel zone and China.

Since 1950, 1.9 billion hectares (4.7 billion acres) of land around the world has become degraded, a problem that has reduced harvests, contributed to changing rainfall patterns and increased the vulnerability of millions of people, Gnacadja said. Each year, on average, another 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of land a year is lost to the problem, he added. Continue reading

Metolong Dam resettlement and compensation plan signed

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 08 January 2011

The Metolong Authority has signed a US$1,27 million (about R8.55 million) contract with Canadian and South African consulting companies to develop a plan that would resettle and compensate those affected by the construction of the Metolong Dam.

Advance Infrastructure of the Metolong Dam and Water Supply Programme. Photo: © John Hogg / World Bank under Creative Commons Licence

The Metolong Dam and Water Supply Programme (MDWSP) will supply potable water for domestic and industrial use to Maseru and the rural towns of Roma, Mazenod, Morija and Teyateyaneng.

The Metolong Authority Public Relations Manager, Matšeliso Makoele, told Public Eye on Wednesday this week rePlan Inc. (Canada) in association with SRK Consulting Engineers and Scientists (South Africa) were expected to complete the work by March 2014.

Makoele said the consultants would develop the action plan which would include an evaluation and monitoring programme and a baseline socio-economic survey in consultation with local stakeholders such as the directly-affected communities, local chiefs, relevant community councils and other interested parties. Continue reading