Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Food: Where Water and Energy Meet

Cross-posted from the March 2014 edition of USAID's Global Waters Publication. Read the full article here: "Food: Where Water and Energy Meet"

In Senegal, USAID is supporting the introduction of solar-powered irrigation systems. Photo Credit: Kyu Lee/Earth InstituteAt the Children’s Museum in Amman, Jordan, boys and girls are engaged in a high-stakes simulation. First, they act as farmers and haul water from the well to their fields and answer trivia questions about the water needs of different types of food. Next, they perform as city managers and battle the clock in order to distribute energy to the city grid.

These activities are part of “I am Change,” a new USAID-funded water and energy conservation exhibit. While the exhibit aims to be fun, water and energy are serious business in resource-scarce Jordan.

With climate change escalating and water supplies dwindling worldwide, it has never been more critical to ensure that resources are used as effectively and sustainably as possible to produce enough food to nourish a swelling global population. Many development practitioners are now realizing that food security programs are more effective when they prioritize efficient management of water and energy. The United Nations is exploring the link between water and energy and declaring that World Water Day 2014 on March 22nd be devoted to raising awareness about the relationship. USAID addressed the interconnection in its Water and Development Strategy 2013-2018, saying, “Effective comanagement of water and energy, including the integration of water, food, and energy programs, as well as support for and development of technology, can lead to significant returns on investment.”

The logic is straightforward: Food production is water-intensive; irrigation systems to water crops are energy-intensive; and energy production can be water-intensive. USAID’s Water and Development Strategy sums it up when it says, “Every drop of water that has to be pumped, moved, or treated to meet health and food needs requires energy.”

USAID is at the forefront of this water-energy-food security “nexus” approach. The Agency is working with local populations to promote smarter water and energy use, developing cutting-edge fuel-efficient technologies to irrigate crops, and exploring resource-efficient agricultural production methods. This integration is crucial to USAID’s work to usher in a sustainable future. ...

Read the full article here: "Food: Where Water and Energy Meet"