Water Futures

What is the challenge?

Water scarcity is growing rapidly and water quality continues to decline. In 2010, 36 percent of the global population, 39 percent of the world’s grain production and 22 percent of global GDP were at risk due to water stress. Under business-as-usual, 52 percent of the global population, 49 percent of global grain production, and 45 percent of total GDP will be at risk due to water stress by 2050. There is no path-dependency, however. If we change the ways we use water and produce food, we can significantly reduce global water stress, and provide more food with less water for more people.

Key research questions

  • What is the impact of growing water scarcity on food supply, demand and trade?
  • What water investments are most effective for securing future food supplies?

Basic information about the activity

This book will provide an update on key factors affecting growing water scarcity and related impacts on global food supply, demand and trade and food security. Key areas assessed include the impact of climate change on water and food, the role of biofuels, the potential of food trade, and alternative water and agricultural intensification options using an updated version of the International Model of Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT).


This project is implemented under the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).


Tingju Zhu
Research Fellow
Environment and Production Technology Division

Claudia Ringler
Deputy Division Director & Natural Resource Management Theme Lead
Environment and Production Technology Division