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Focus on... Water in agriculture

Agriculture accounts for around 70 per cent of the global water consumption. Competition for water is increasing; by 2050, it is estimated that 47 per cent of the world's population will be under water stress and climate change will impact on rainfall, snow melt and result in more extreme incidences of floods and droughts. Sustainable management of water in agriculture is critical to increase agricultural production, ensure water can be shared with other users and maintain the environmental and social benefits of water systems.

From wetland farming in Zambia, cattle management systems in Uganda and water harvesting technologies in Sudan, to organic cotton practices in India and the use of 'water funds' in Latin America, we focus on a variety of initiatives and approaches that are helping farmers to use water more efficiently and improve their livelihoods.

Every drop counts for Africa's agriculture

Every drop counts for Africa's agriculture

The challenge of managing Africa's water more efficiently and allocating it more fairly was one of the topics for discussion at the recent Every Drop Counts conference. Some of the measures discussed are difficult and controversial but, when every drop counts, Africa needs to consider all the tools at its disposal.

Date published: July 2012

Conserving wetlands through smallscale agriculture

Conserving wetlands through smallscale agriculture

In Northern Zambia, Wetlands International teamed up with local NGOs to encourage small growers back into seasonal wetlands and explore ways for them to farm sustainably. This new approach is explored in a recently published research report from the International Water Management Institute which suggests that agricultural encroachment may be far less damaging to wetlands than many had feared.

Date published: July 2012

Driving change in water use amongst India's cotton farmers

Driving change in water use amongst India's cotton farmers

A groundbreaking study has revealed that cotton farmers in India are able to significantly reduce their pollution of surface and groundwater by adopting organic and improved farming practices.

Date published: July 2012

Latin America's water funds: downstream users invest wisely

Latin America's water funds: downstream users invest wisely

Water users in many Latin American countries are paying into new funds to protect watersheds upstream, driving initiatives to support lower-impact farming and herding practices.

Date published: July 2012

Retaining scarce resources - rainwater harvesting in Sudan

Retaining scarce resources - rainwater harvesting in Sudan

In Northern Darfur, Sudan, farmers and livestock keepers have many ways of coping with arid conditions. Practical Action is working with farmers to develop and refine these techniques, using earth embankments, crescent-shaped terraces, shallow wells and strengthened dams, to support improved production of crops and livestock.

Date published: July 2012

Increasing milk production to conserve groundwater in India

Increasing milk production to conserve groundwater in India

With concerns over current water management practices in Punjab State, India, the International Water Management Institute, in collaboration with Nestlé, conducted a study on the water footprint of milk, rice and wheat production. They concluded that intensifying dairy farming would reduce groundwater consumption and generate higher profits for smallscale farmers.

Date published: July 2012

Re-greening Uganda's cattle corridor

Re-greening Uganda's cattle corridor

A joint effort by farmers in Uganda's cattle corridor to herd their animals together at night has proved effective in re-greening rangeland areas and improving the quality of water in local rainwater harvesting reservoirs.

Date published: July 2012

Productive sanitation - the honey suckers of Bengaluru

Productive sanitation - the honey suckers of Bengaluru

In Bengaluru in southern India, tanker drivers known as honey suckers provide a valuable sanitation service, collecting faecal sludge from households not served by the sewerage network. Much of this is used to fertilise crops on surrounding farmland, and researchers believe the system deserves to be formalised, to enhance the benefits while addressing safety concerns.

Date published: July 2012

 

 

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