The World Water Week that will take place in Stockholm from the 26th to the 31st of August will discuss, amongst other topics, the nexus between water, energy, and food.
Water and energy are closely intertwined throughout the food chain. Irrigation implies increasing energy bills and energy is also intensely used to make water of acceptable quality for agriculture. Energy production is associated with significant water consumption, for example in the case of biofuels that can consume 20-30 tonnes of water per litre bio-fuel produces. In addition, water can be used for hydropower generation in many countries of the world.
The interconnections between water, food, and energy also concern costs. Energy is a key input to agriculture, thus higher energy prices hinder agricultural production, irrigation possibility, and consequently food prices thus hindering food security. Increasing energy prices also provide an incentive for substituting food crops with growing crops for fuel. The volatility of energy prices is hence transferred to the price of food contributing to increased food security risks.
With the growing world population, particularly in urban areas, the water, energy, and food resources will be facing growing challenges. By 2030, water supply could face a 40% shortfall, with the world's food needs growing by as much as 50%. By 2050, energy demand will be three times greater than it was a mere decade ago. Urban development, infrastructure quality, investments in water and energy, demand and supply management solutions could all have an impact on water resources, food and energy production.
What do you consider the most effective approach to address these issues?