alexa Global Irrigation Demand � A Holistic Approach

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Global Irrigation Demand � A Holistic Approach

Agriculture is the world’s largest consumer and withdrawer of freshwater resources, and irrigation has been historically instrumental in meeting the fast-pace growth of global food demands. Today irrigated agriculture accounts for more than 70% of total global water withdrawals and 85% of the consumptive use [1,2], where withdrawal is the amount of water taken from the water supply system (lakes, groundwater aquifers) and consumption is the amount of water that is made unavailable to users in a basin (e.g., evaporated, or transpired) [3]. With rising populations and their associated growing food demands, the demand for water in agriculture can be expected to continue to grow. Meeting these demands presents a formidable challenge to the world [4,5]. de Fraiture and Wichelns [6] argue that ensuring global food security requires water development and management strategies which can focus on (1) increasing productivity in rainfed agriculture, (2) investing in increasing irrigated area, (3) promoting agricultural trade from water abundant to water scarce areas, and (4) limiting potential increase in global food demand. Furthermore, meeting future irrigation water demands raises two prominent challenges. First is overdraft of groundwater and shifting of many areas from water scarce regions to water stressed regions.

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