Coping with Water Scarcity: What Role for Biotechnologies?

Land and Water discussion paper 7

Coping with Water Scarcity:
What Role for Biotechnologies?


John Ruane
FAO Working Group on Biotechnology
Rome, Italy

Andrea Sonnino
FAO Research and Extension Division
Rome, Italy

Pasquale Steduto
FAO Land and Water Division
Rome, Italy


Christine Deane
Faculty of Law
University of Technology, Sydney

Rome, 2008

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© FAO 2008


22 March is World Water Day. Its international observance is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), on behalf of the 24 Agencies and Programme Members of UN-Water, the theme of World Water Day for 2007 was “Coping with water scarcity”. The day provided an opportunity to reflect on the challenges posed by the unsustainable increase in water use and its degradation across the world and it also served as a spur to action to reverse current trends and work towards a more efficient and more equitable distribution of water for all.


Acknowledgements (Download 763 kb)

FAO Biotechnology Forum (Download 164 kb)

Background to the issues (Download 273 kb)
A water-scarce planet
Some major strategies for coping with water scarcity
Water use in agriculture: a closer look
What role can biotechnologies play?
Some issues and questions relevant to the debate
Summary of an international dialogue (Download 188 kb)
Executive Summary
Crops with increased drought resistance or water use efficiency
Use of mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria in water-limited conditions
Biotechnology in wastewater treatment
References (Download 830 kb)