4th World Water Forum, Mexico, 2006

Water for Food and the Environment

Reference point for discussion from the beacons

Why is so much water used for “irrigation”? Can we not reduce this to satisfy the needs of rapidly growing cities and safeguard the environment?

Obviously,people need more water than for drinking, washing and other domestic needs alone. Few people realize how much more. As much as seventy times more water is required to grow a person’s food than is required for domestic needs. Even more water is required to maintain the ecosystem services without which our lifestyle is not sustainable. That frames the challenge on water for food and environment: finding water for expanding cities, often taken from agriculture, growing food for a growing population, providing jobs for the rural poor while sustaining the environment.

Is it possible to overcome this challenge? We believe it is. Communities in hundreds of “bright spots” demonstrate that technologies are available and effective if used appropriately. It requires a shift in how natural resources are managed.


Key messages from the Voices of the Forum

  • Empowered Water users associations will improve the crop per drop
  • Optimising greenwater use to enhance food security
  • Financing water for agriculture requires coherency
  • Balancing demands for agriculture and the environment
  • Investments in agricultural water management in Sub-Saharan Africa: Diagnosis of trends and opportunities
  • Involving youth in environmental education is a useful strategy, but not sufficient
  • Water quality and ecosystems
  • Payment for environmental services
  • New resources, good news?

Sessions synthesis

Please click on any underlined session number to accede to the corresponding session synthesis.

FT4.01

Environmentally sustainable agriculture and water quality

FT4.02

Innovations in biosaline agriculture technology

FT4.03

Drain for gain

FT4.04

Wetlands, water and livelihoods : healthy wetlands are essential to help make poverty history

FT4.05

Water for food, livelihoods, and environment: Bridging the gap through partnership in research

FT4.06

Capacity building in the MENA region: Ministerial panel

FT4.07

Improving agricultural water productivity in dry areas

FT4.08

Financing water for agriculture

FT4.10

Water accounting and information platforms

FT4.11

National and regional water quality management

FT4.12

Water for food and ecosystems - The way forward

FT4.13

River restoration in the Asia monsoon region

FT4.14

Recycling realities - Linking the sanitation challenge with agricultural benefits

FT4.15

Sustainable paddy water use and its multifunctionality with better governance

FT4.16

Water use efficiency in agriculture and potentials for water saving in the Middle-East region

FT4.19

Effective use of irrigation water through participatory irrigation managementt

FT4.20

Capacity development strategies and social learning among stakeholders for a sustainable irrigation and drainage sector

FT4.21

Adequation of water users'rights and productive reconversion of irrigation districts

FT4.22

Approaches and challenges to creating appropriate and cost-effective mechanisms for measuring and monitoring watershed services for ecosystem markets at different scales

FT4.23

Virtual water in the Arab region

FT4.24

Investment in agricultural water management in Sub-Saharan Africa : Diagnosis of trends and opportunities

FT4.25

Multiple use water services

FT4.26

Legal water education

FT4.27

Environmental education and water culture in basic education

FT4.28

Water education for children and youth

FT4.29

Payment for environmental services : national and local financing mechanisms

FT4.30

Fostering sustainability in arid and water scarce zones through local actions

FT4.31

Ecological management and rainwater catchment systems

FT4.32

Water and cultural diversity : Mediating for sustainable development

FT4.34

Demand management, institutions, policy options in the Middle East

FT4.35

The struggles for a new water culture in Latin America and Europe

FT4.37

Assessing livelihoods and environmental trade-offs and synergies for water management in agriculture

FT4.38

Environmental flows, ecosystems and livelihoods : a challenge for IWRM

FT4.39

Multistakeholder approach in local conflict mitigation during armed conflicts

FT4.40

Lauching sessions for the CSD WAND - Follow up for the CSD13 and PWA initiatives

FT4.41

Green and Blue water resources for improved livelihoods - Utilizing the rains for intended gains

FT4.42

Sustainable development of humid tropical areas

FT4.43

Participation of the State governors of Mexico III

FT4.44

Integrative management of the water sector under conditions of uncertainty and scarcity - part I

FT4.45

Integrative management of the water sector under conditions of uncertainty and scarcity - part II

FT4.46

Preserving water

FT4.47

Water management legal modernisation