Water, at least in the forms we need for human health, economic production and farming, is scarce and growing scarcer. With global population expected to expand almost 50 percent by mid-century, the world faces the prospect of critical shortages of water for food, health, manufacturing and power. The likely effects of climate change—including increased drought in many regions and more extreme weather conditions the world over—will only compound the problem.
All segments of society must contribute to meeting the water challenge, but agriculture—which consumes 70 percent of the world’s usable water—will need to be a big part of the solution. Fortunately, new biotech and crop protection technologies, as well as improved irrigation and other techniques, allow farmers to produce more “crop for drop,” raising agricultural yields while using dramatically less water. Making full use of modern agricultural technologies can go a long way to preserving our precious fresh water resources while we feed a growing and prospering world population in the 21st century.