Clean freshwater is essential to sustain life, enable development, and support a healthy environment. Due to population and economic growth, water demand for household, industrial, and agricultural uses is increasing, while the functioning and quality of watersheds and irrigated land are deteriorating, and ground and surface water pollution is increasing. In much of the developing world, growing urban and industrial water demand, as well as climate change-induced rising temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns, will require water transfers from agricultural uses, threatening food production and rural livelihoods.
In the face of growing water scarcity, IFPRI’s water research aims to reduce poverty by improving overall water use efficiency in developing countries, while improving water quality, reducing irrigated land degradation, increasing food security, and improving access to water by the poor. Research results provide policymakers with options to address growing water scarcity and water quality challenges through more efficient water allocation and improved water management across sectors and within the agricultural sector.
IFPRI’s water research is unique because of its joint assessments of water supply and demand together with food outcomes, nonagricultural water demands, and environmental outcomes at the local, basin, national, and global levels. Moreover, IFPRI facilitates interdisciplinary water research related to property rights to water, downscaling climate change scenarios, and impacts on runoff and crop outcomes. Water research falls under the institute’s work on natural resource policies, which fits into IFPRI’s broader priority focus area of the efficient and fair functioning of global and national food and agriculture systems.