By 2050, the world’s population is projected to reach 9 billion while per capita income is expected to almost triple. This will likely lead to a substantial increase in demand for food as well as natural resources especially if global production and consumption choices of emerging economies converge with those of OECD countries.
With water for food production already accounting for around 70% of water withdrawals and water demand projected to outstrip supply due to climatic and non-climatic drivers food-growing regions of the world are looking at ways of growing more crop per drop and being more self-sufficient.
WA’s Farm Water Rebate Scheme
In Western Australia, the State’s Department of Water has initiated a Farm Water Rebate Scheme to encourage commercial farmers to develop additional water supplies so they are more self-sufficient and able to address on-farm water shortages. The scheme provides a rebate of up to 50% of expenditure on approved water supply works, up to $15,000 per farm every 10 years. To be eligible farms have to be located in a dryland agricultural district that receives less than 600 mm average rainfall. In addition, farmers must of had a farm water supply audit conducted before they make an application.
Governments need to preserve food-growing regions to meet growing demand for food while ensuring the development of water supplies necessary for agricultural production is sustainable.
*Robert C. Brears is the author of Urban Water Security (Wiley). Urban Water Security argues that, with climate change and rapid urbanization, cities need to transition from supply-side to demand-side management to achieve urban water security.