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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In a world characterized by increasing demand for water and food and progressing global climate change, ever more regions are exposed to water shortages and resulting limitations to food production. In the present Anthropocene era, water scarcity is prevalent in many regions, and freshwater ecosystems are anthropogenically perturbed or severely degraded in many places. At the same time, the potential for further increasing the global irrigated area is limited. However, methods to improve agricultural water use—including upgraded irrigation systems, water harvesting, and soil moisture conservation—have tremendous potential to increase crop production and save water in farming systems, especially in regions with variable and aggravating hydroclimatic realities. Model simulations suggest that ambitious combination of such measures could increase global crop production by ~40 percent, thus significantly contributing to the simultaneous achievement of Sustainable Development Goals targeted to ensure water and food security. Successfully addressing this challenge requires ambitious policies supporting implementation of locally adapted solutions.

Keywords: water scarcity, green water, blue water, farm water management, irrigation, crop production, water security, food security, Sustainable Development Goals

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