Sustainable Management of Water in Agriculture

Issues and Policies - The Athens Workshop

Pressure on the quantity and quality of water from agriculture is a concern in many OECD countries. But the use of water in agriculture is essential to meet growing demands for food, and also provides environmental and social benefits. Key questions for policy makers are how to ensure the sustainable management of water resources in agriculture through coherent policies in the areas of agriculture, water and the environment.

The Athens Workshop helped to illustrate what needs to be done to manage water sustainably in agriculture, in particular through reviewing the experiences in OECD countries. The main conclusions are: continuing the reform of agricultural policies; improving the transparency of water management policies; enhancing water pricing mechanisms; ensuring that all stakeholders are involved in policy formulation; and undertaking cost-benefit analysis in the design of water projects, taking into account environmental considerations.