Posts Tagged ‘Virtual Water Economy’

Green Water

A Virtual Water Economy

The term green water may conger up images of a murky swamp or a swimming pool that is needing some attention. A Virtual Water Market exists today.  The green water is embedded in crops; it takes 1350 litres of water to produce 1 KG of wheat  and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Many countries are now choosing to import products with a heavy “water footprint” (volume of water used per year) rather then use the resources to grow the crop in their homeland.

Changes in the world livestock production, the increase in consumption of meat world wide and the overall change in land use has created an unsustainable system. This is the most important fact that must be recognised and dealt with.

Water scarcity is now a reality in many places that have never known droughts.  Valuable farmland has been turned into golf courses and developed into subdivisions while the need for food has reached an all time high with no slow down in sight.

Last year  Oxfam, an international organisation that addresses issue of poverty and social injustice, released  a new report warning that food prices will sky-rocket in the near future.  With prices set to rise from 120 to 180% in the next 20 years, this will lead to food shortages and even more hunger.

Having recently attended a presentation at SFU I learned about the U.S. Drought Monitor which shows clear data on the climate situation state by state. The data is clear; there is trouble in the American south and now that we are in full growing season the effects of these droughts will soon be felt.

How we choose to use water has never been more important then now. If we continue down the present path we can  predict more water shortages will  happen.

Growing food for human consumption (instead of fuel or livestock feed) must be the priority. Governments, farmers, and consumers must all get on board with making changes that will ensure a future of food security.

Originally published June 2011

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