More than 25% of global agricultural production happens in regions that are under high or extremely high water stress. That’s one of the findings from an analysis by the nonprofit World Resources Institute (WRI) as part of its Aqueduct project. To explore the analysis using an interactive map, visit www.wri.org. Water stress is defined as "the ratio of total water withdrawals to available renewable supplies." High-risk means at least 40% of supply is withdrawn annually, and extremely high-risk means at least 80% is withdrawn annually. More than half (56%) of irrigated cropland is at high or greater risk, according to the report. The major commodity crops with the highest percentage of water stress are cotton (57%), wheat (43%) and maize (35%). Soybeans are listed at No. 8 (19%). Referencing a forecast that anticipates a 50% increase in water demand by 2030, WRI says stakeholders must improve water and soil management.
- December 2013