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World Water Week—an annual conference in Stockholm dedicated to discussing the management of global water resources—opened Monday with a message about cleaning your plate.
Food waste, according to experts at the conference, accounts for significant water waste.
A third to a half of all food grown globally either sits untouched on our plates or rots before it even gets there. A new report from the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) states that 40 percent of food purchased in the U.S. is thrown away. And a new documentary called Taste the Waste highlights the problem. Watch the trailer.
At the forefront of an important agricultural revolution in the developing world is not a leading scientist or a tireless advocate. Instead, the leader is a farmer.
His name is Purushottambhai Patel, from the state of Gujarat in Western India. He is a smallholder farmer with eight cows, three hectares of tobacco, rice, potatoes and sapota, and limited access to water.
Rather than tapping a large-scale water project for his farm, Patel uses the dung from his cows to generate biogas, which is then fed to a pump that runs partly on diesel. This novel arrangement saves him $400 a year in fuel costs, and the improved water supply enabled him to double his crop production. He also sells water to adjacent farms, further boosting local food production.
The pace of innovation in water management on small farms across Africa and Asia is remarkable. Using water more effectively, together with improved market access, can transform marginal subsistence agriculture into a thriving business opportunity. At the same time it can have a major impact on local food security and contribute to lasting poverty alleviation.
Colin Chartres, director of the 25-year-old International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and co-author of the new book Out of Water: From Abundance to Scarcity and How to Solve the World’s Water Problems talks to National Geographic News about how the planet can steer clear of budding water and food crises. In your new book, you…