More food with less water – Optimizing agricultural water use




Smilovic, Mikhail
Gleeson, Tom
Adamowski, Jan
Langhorn, Colin

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Advances in Water Resources


Global food demand is projected double by 2050 ( Gerland et al., 2014 ; United Nations 2015 ; Godfray et al., 2010 ; Foley, 2015 ; Licker et al., 2010 ) significantly increasing freshwater consumption ( Bruinsma, 2009 ; Wada and Bierkens, 2014 ), a pivotal sustainability challenge directly related to the UN sustainable development goals of zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, life below water, and life on land ( UN, 2015 ). Optimally using irrigation water within a water- shed could support both food and water security by increasing water productivity or ‘crop per drop’ ( Brauman et al., 2013 ; Oweis and Hachum, 2012 ) which will help to close ‘yield gaps’ ( Mueller et al., 2012 ). Optimizing water use of an agricultural region involves managing both the timing and spatial distribution of water –this is the first study to evaluate optimizing water use with both on-farm timing of irrigation and the spatial distribution of water between farms within a region or watershed.




Smilovic, M., Gleeson, T., Adamowski, J. & Langhorn, C. (2019). More food with less water–Optimizing agricultural water use. Advances in Water Resources, 123, 256-261.