WASAG – The Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture


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.

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. 

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.

“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.

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. 

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.



World Water Day 2020 – Sustainable Agriculture Water Use

Agriculture is by far the largest water consumer, accounting for around 70% of global water withdrawals. Sustainable water management in agriculture is critical to improve agricultural production and save water.

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