OECD Studies on Water

ISSN :
2224-5081 (online)
ISSN :
2224-5073 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/22245081
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Water is essential for economic growth, human health, and the environment. Yet governments around the world face significant challenges in managing their water resources effectively. The problems are multiple and complex: billions of people are still without access to safe water and adequate sanitation; competition for water is increasing among the different uses and users; and major investment is required to maintain and improve water infrastructure in OECD and non-OECD countries. This OECD series on water provides policy analysis and guidance on the economic, financial and governance aspects of water resources management. These aspects generally lie at the heart of the water problem and hold the key to unlocking the policy puzzle.

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Climate Change, Water and Agriculture

Climate Change, Water and Agriculture

Towards Resilient Systems You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
18 June 2014
Pages :
100
ISBN :
9789264209138 (PDF) ; 9789264209121 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264209138-en

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This report reviews the main linkages between climate change, water and agriculture as a means to identifying and discussing adaptation strategies for better use and conservation of water resources. It aims to provide guidance to decision makers on choosing an appropriate mix of policies and market approaches to address the interaction between agriculture and water systems under climate change.

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    Foreword

    Interactions between climate change, water and agriculture are numerous, complex and region-specific. Climate change can affect water resources through several dimensions: changes in the amount and patterns of precipitation; impact on water quality through changes in runoff, river flows, retention and thus loading of nutrients; and through extreme events such as floods and droughts. These changes in the water cycle can in turn deeply affect agricultural production in practically all regions of the world and have destabilising impacts for agricultural markets, food security and non-agricultural water uses. There is thus a strong case for considering agricultural water management and policy in the context of climate change. In the same way, a sound analysis of mitigation and adaptation strategies in the agricultural sector to climate change should place more emphasis on the water cycle.

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    Executive summary

    Water is a central issue of adaptation to climate change in agriculture. Agricultural production depends critically on how climatic variables such as precipitation and temperatures vary across regions and over time. The effects of climate change on agriculture occur through crop water requirements, availability and quality of water, and other factors, which are affected by both long-term gradual change and extreme events, and across a range of scales from local to regional to continental. Moreover, climate is not only changing but is becoming non-stationary, meaning that expectations can no longer be based only on past observations.

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    Impact of climate change on the water cycle and implications for agriculture

    The present chapter provides a review of the main impacts of climate change on water supply and demand for agriculture, including the crop and livestock sectors, on the relations between climate change, agriculture and water quality, and on extreme water events such as droughts and floods. The principal aim of this chapter is to provide a background for the policy analysis of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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    Climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for agricultural water management

    The present chapter proposes an economic framework for analysing the adaptation of agricultural water management to climate change, and examines the role and capacity of different policy instruments to foster the adaptation of agricultural water management to climate change.

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    Conclusion and key policy implications
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    Glossary
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    Annexes
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