With growing and increasingly wealthy and urban population, it is likely that the role of agricultural water management in ensuring food security will become more important. However, pressure on water resources is already high. Adverse environmental impacts as a result of sometimes poor management of irrigation and drainage are well documented, calling into question the sustainability of some of the current water resources management practices. Water, food, energy and climate are intrinsically connected. Greater pressure on water resources and, hence, stronger interconnectivity between sectors sharing these resources, call for new, integrated approaches to agricultural water management. This background paper explores the links between water, food, energy, and climate. It then explores the role of irrigation and drainage in food production and in providing other ecosystems services that are essential for the sustainable use of natural resources. The paper argues that looking at water for food production in isolation would miss important developments outside the water sector that determine the sustainability of agricultural water management. Integrated approaches to food production are not only necessary to ensure sustainability.
Charlotte de Fraiture Professor, Head of Department, IHE Delft, The Netherlands
Olcay Unver Vice Chair, UN-Water, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Former Member of the WLE Steering Committee
Ragab Ragab Hydrologist, Water Resources Management specialist, Irrigation expert and Soil and Water Scientist