Sustainable Management of Water Resources in Agriculture

image of Sustainable Management of Water Resources in Agriculture

Agriculture is the major user of water in most countries. It also faces the enormous challenge of producing almost 50% more food by 2030 and doubling production by 2050. This will likely need to be achieved with less water, mainly because of growing pressures from urbanisation, industrialisation and climate change. In this context, it will be important in future for farmers to receive the right signals to increase water use efficiency and improve agricultural water management, while preserving aquatic ecosystems.  

This report calls on policy makers to recognise the complexity and diversity of water resource management in agriculture and the wide range of issues at stake. And it gives them the tools to do so, offering a wealth of information on recent trends and the outlook for water resource use in agriculture, including the impacts of climate change. It examines the policy experiences of OECD countries in managing their water resources for agriculture, with focus on: the extent to which countries subsidise the supply of water to farmers; flood and drought risk policies; and institutional organisation and governance as it relates to water and the agricultural sector. The report offers concrete recommendations on what countries should be doing and why. 

English Also available in: French


OECD Countries' Policy Experiences

All OECD countries have policy strategies to address broad water management issues – water resources, quality and ecosystems – and in terms of the more specific objectives for managing water resources in agriculture they broadly share a common strategic vision to: • Establish a long-term plan for the sustainable management of water resources in agriculture taking into account climate change impacts, including protection from flood and drought risks; • Contribute to raising agricultural incomes and achieving broader rural development goals; • Protect ecosystems on agricultural land or affected by farming activities; • Balance consumptive water uses across the economy with environmental needs; and, • Improve water resource use efficiency, management and technologies on-farm and ensure the financing to maintain and upgrade the infrastructure supplying water to farms (and other users).

English Also available in: French

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