Surprising, however, was the fact that policy makers ignored or perhaps concealed some of the major findings of the action research carried out by IWMI
under the LBOD Project.
A Thai government investigation panel has confirmed the IWMI
findings, while the government has pledged to seek a long-term solution to the problem.
Founded in 1984, IWMI
is a nonprofit, scientific research organisation focusing on the sustainable use of land and water resources in agriculture, to benefit poor people in developing countries.
By taking these and other appropriate actions now, IWMI
concludes, countries could slow global water demand by as much as 50 percent, while also limiting the expansion of rain-fed agriculture into natural habitats to just 10 percent by 2050.
With at least 55 percent of India's grain production now coming from irrigated lands, IWMI
speculates that aquifer depletion could reduce India's harvest by one-fourth.
Governments' inability to regulate this practice is giving rise to scary scenarios of groundwater over-exploitation, which could lead to regional food crises and widespread social unrest," said Tushaar Shah of IWMI
On an average it takes roughly 70 times more water to grow food than people use directly for domestic purposes [SIWI and IWMI
, FAO and partner researchers obtained the findings using a computer model called WATERSIM, which helps examine difficult tradeoffs between food security and the environment, specifically in relation to water supplies.
King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden made the award presentation, which comes with a $150,000 prize, to IWMI
in a royal ceremony during the annual World Water Week event in Stockholm.
Paper presented at the National Workshop on Pro-poor Intervention Strategies in Irrigated Agriculture in Asia: Pakistan, Organised by IWMI
on March 12.
The opinions expressed in the paper are those of the authors and may not necessarily reflect those of the IWMI
He also acknowledges with thanks the financial support and permission from the IWMI
to carry out and publish this work.