WASAG – The Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture


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Unlocking finance for water and agriculture: Volume 1

The WASAG working group on Financing mechanisms prepared this paper, which aims to identify innovative financial mechanisms for interventions dealing with water scarcity in agriculture in the context of climate change. The working group supports new approaches to finance water for agriculture, that will inform the work undertaken by other WASAG working groups and Partners to ensure an aligned approach across WASAG projects and activities. The Volume II of this framework will later be published to demonstrate how the framework has been applied in case studies.


WASAG working group on Financing mechanisms


Compendium of community and indigenous strategies for climate change adaptation – Focus on addressing water scarcity in agriculture

WASAG has collaborated with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for this strategy report which provides an inventory of indigenous and community adaptation practices across the world. Indigenous peoples have developed practices for climate change adaptation, based on their long-term experience with adverse climatic effects. These strategies have the potential of being improved and replicated through the adoption and adaptation of technology.


Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and WASAG

Strategy report

Thinking ahead: Drought resilience and COVID-19

The WASAG working group on Drought preparedness prepared this paper which highlights that the interactions between human, ecosystems and ecology often govern drought-linked disease. Factoring these interactions and their impacts on vulnerable communities and their environment is important for drought preparedness, resilience, and recovery.


WASAG working group on Drought preparedness

Working paper

WASAG Strategy for 2021-2024 – Turning water scarcity into opportunities for sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition

WASAG has developed its Strategy for 2021 - 2024. The Strategy takes stock of achievements and proposes a theory of change through which key action areas are identified, focused on collaborative solutions, building on the comparative advantages of its partners.


WASAG Partners, working groups and stakeholders


Can Water Productivity Improvements Save Us from Global Water Scarcity?

The WASAG working group on Sustainable Agricultural Water Use prepared this White Paper synthesizing discussions held at a WASAG workshop titled “Can Water Productivity Improvements Save Us from Global Water Scarcity?”, on 25-26 February 2020 at CIHEAM Bari in Valenzano, Italy. This paper aims to provide some guiding recommendations to ensure more resilient and sustainable agriculture water use.


WASAG working group on Sustainable agricultural water use

White Paper

Workshop Report: Can water productivity improvements save us from Global Water Scarcity?

A workshop on water productivity took place at the CIHEAM-Bari campus in Valenzano, Italy on 25-26 February 2020. The main objectives of the workshop were to share knowledge about successful examples of improving water productivity in the field and its implications on water scarcity, and to discuss necessities for an enabling environment and policy changes. The outcomes of the workshop provided the basis for a White Paper on enhancing water productivity to address water scarcity. 


WASAG working group on Sustainable agricultural water use


Water for Food Systems and Nutrition

Access to sufficient and clean freshwater is essential for all life. Water is also essential for food system functioning: as a key input into food production, but also in processing and preparation, and as a food itself. This brief highlights solutions to jointly improve food systems and water security outcomes.


WASAG working group on Water and nutrition

Summit Brief

Water productivity, the yield gap, and nutrition: The case of Ethiopia

Food system transformation is needed to address the hundreds of millions of people without adequate access to water or food for a healthy life. Nutrition and malnutrition are inextricably linked to water for food, sanitation, hygiene. This report investigates the relationship between water, food security and nutrition using data from Ethiopia on yield, water productivity, and the macro and micronutrient contents of food.


Land and Water Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization and WASAG working group on Water and nutrition

Discussion paper

Moving beyond ‘more crop per drop’: insights from two decades of research on agricultural water productivity

Concern over increasing water scarcity has led to the introduction of the concept of agricultural water productivity and an emphasis on interventions to achieve ‘more crop per drop’. Yet, a strong debate continues on how the concept is to be defined and used. Drawing largely from the irrigation literature, the origins of the concept and its methodological developments are reviewed, and its use in applied work over two decades is discussed.


International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WASAG working group on Sustainable agriculture water use

Journal Article

Framework for the Assessment of Benefits of Action/Cost of Inaction (BACI) for Drought Preparedness

This paper examined the benefits of action and costs of inaction (BACI) for drought preparedness and mitigation. The paper emphasizes that there is an initial need for a conceptual framework for analyzing the BACI and argues that the framework should be systematic enough to allow for comparability across countries and contexts, with the option of being tailored as needed.


The World Bank's Water Global Practice

Working Paper

Drought Impact and Vulnerability Assessment, A Rapid Review of Practices and Policy Recommendations

This rapid review explores the application of available approaches and methods for assessing drought impacts and vulnerability. It is based on a series of interviews with expert practitioners from different drought-affected regions of the world. This was complemented by a brief review of the relevant published literature and a summary appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the range of assessment approaches available.


United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Global Water Partnership (GWP), World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Review Paper

Proactive approaches to drought preparedness – Where are we now and where do we go from here?

Drought can occur in virtually any climatic regime, in both high and low rainfall areas. In contrast to aridity, which is a permanent feature of the climate and is restricted to low rainfall areas, drought is a temporary condition brought on by water shortage. This paper presents current approaches to building proactive policies that support drought-stricken populations and activities, reduce vulnerability, and strengthen resilience to droughts.


Land and Water Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization

White Paper

Water stress and human migration: a global, georeferenced review of empirical research

Migration is a universal and common process and is linked to development in multiple ways. When mainstreamed in broader frameworks, especially in development planning, migration can benefit the communities on both ends. The findings from the reviewed literature provide important material for policy development for improving migration as a strategy for adapting to water stress.


Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Global Water Partnership (GWP) and Oregon State University

Discussion paper

Guidelines on irrigation investment projects

Significant and responsible public and private investments in irrigation are vital for delivering on the 2030 Agenda. Development of the irrigation sector faces multiple challenges, including water scarcity and degradation, competition over shared resources, agricultural transformation and the impact of climate change. The guidelines in this paper add to a growing body of knowledge on irrigation investment support.


Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


Beyond Crop per Drop : Assessing Agricultural Water Productivity and Efficiency in a Maturing Water Economy

With growing water scarcity in many parts of the world and projections that indicate the need to increase agricultural production and, concurrently, agricultural water use, it is increasingly advocated to focus efforts on improving agricultural water productivity and efficiency—and thus achieve more crop per drop. The report highlights the central role of water use in irrigated agriculture and its link with increasing water scarcity, with the view of the water economy transitioning from an expansionary to a mature phase.


The World Bank Group


Beyond 'More Crop per Drop' : Evolving Thinking on Agricultural Water Productivity

This report aims to provide key highlights from two decades of IWMI research and the broader irrigation literature on agricultural water productivity, with an emphasis on the evolution and application of the concept, highlighting its contributions and limitations while identifying opportunities for further refinements in the way it is understood and applied. 


International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and WASAG working group on sustainable agriculture water use


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