Climate Change, Water and Agriculture

Towards Resilient Systems

image of Climate Change, Water and Agriculture

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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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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