Ensuring efficient, sustainable and equitable access to water


Intensifying water constraints threaten food security and nutrition. For this reason, urgent action is needed to make water use in agriculture more sustainable and equitable.

The launch of The State of Food and Agriculture 2020 is an opportunity to learn more about FAO’s work on ensuring efficient, sustainable and equitable access to water. 

JUST PUBLISHED: The State of Food and Agriculture 2020: Overcoming water challenges
This year’s report presents new estimates on the pervasiveness of water scarcity in irrigated agriculture and of water shortages in rainfed agriculture. It provides guidance on how countries can prioritize policies and interventions to overcome water constraints in agriculture.

The Right to Water for Food and Agriculture
This report calls for a human rights-based approach to water governance. Recognizing the human right to water, for drinking and household needs as well as for growing food, has implications for water allocation and sets limits for other types of uses. It also means taking into account important principles such as non-discrimination and the rights of indigenous peoples. 

Unpacking water tenure for improved food security and sustainable development
This report is based on expert roundtable discussion on the ‘bundle of rights’ approach to unpack the concept and the practical ramifications of water tenure, as both a social and legal construct. It provides an important basis for improved, integrated, and more equitable land and water governance, and captures how water is actually allocated and used at multiple scales.

Field guide and policy guide to improve water-use efficiency in small-scale agriculture:The case of Burkina Faso, Morocco and Uganda
These guides provide practical measures and real-term applications as well as policy recommendations to improve water use efficiency, including when and how often to irrigate based on water-use records.

Smart irrigation – Smart wash. Solutions in response to the pandemic crisis in Africa
The publication explains how to implement the “Smart irrigation–Smart wash” initiative by assessing and mapping vulnerability in African countries and proposing investment directions to improve water management in vulnerable communities.

Further reading

Additional resources


E-learning courses

For further reading, see also the FAO publications catalogue.