Reconciling irrigated food production with environmental flows for Sustainable Development Goals implementation

Jägermeyr J, Pastor A, Biemans H, & Gerten D (2017). Reconciling irrigated food production with environmental flows for Sustainable Development Goals implementation. Nature Communications 8: e15900. DOI:10.1038/ncomms15900.

[img]
Preview
Text
ncomms15900.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

Safeguarding river ecosystems is a precondition for attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to water and the environment, while rigid implementation of such policies may hamper achievement of food security. River ecosystems provide life-supporting functions that depend on maintaining environmental flow requirements (EFRs). Here we establish gridded process-based estimates of EFRs and their violation through human water withdrawals. Results indicate that 41% of current global irrigation water use (997 km3 per year) occurs at the expense of EFRs. If these volumes were to be reallocated to the ecosystems, half of globally irrigated cropland would face production losses of ≥10%, with losses of ∼20–30% of total country production especially in Central and South Asia. However, we explicitly show that improvement of irrigation practices can widely compensate for such losses on a sustainable basis. Integration with rainwater management can even achieve a 10% global net gain. Such management interventions are highlighted to act as a pivotal target in supporting the implementation of the ambitious and seemingly conflicting SDG agenda.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2017 09:18
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2017 09:18
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/14746

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313