Study Predicts Increasing Global Scarcity of Agricultural Water

An international study published in the American Geophysical Union journal Earth’s Future predicts that agricultural water scarcity is expected to increase in more than 80% of the world’s croplands by 2050. Researchers developed a new index to measure and predict water scarcity in agriculture’s two major sources: soil water that comes from rain, called green water, and irrigation from rivers, lakes and groundwater, called blue water. The researchers found that under climate change, global agricultural water scarcity will worsen in up to 84% of croplands, with a loss of water supplies driving scarcity in about 60% of those croplands. Researchers say the new index can help assess the threat and causes of agricultural water scarcity and not that adopting farming practices that conserve water, such as mulching and no-till farming, can make a significant difference.