March 22 is designated World Water Day. The United Nations focus on interlinked global challenges is also a central strategic topic for Yara, particularly concerns about water use efficiency.
Being the earth’s most valuable asset, water as a resource cannot be taken for granted. A factor for wars, injustice as well as food insecurity, water is a scarcity we need to consume cautiously. This year, WWD examines the interrelation of water and other key global factors - so-called Nexus thinking. WWD 2014 is coordinated by UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) and UN University, and is dedicated to examining the interdependence of water and energy.
UN inspired activities for the day will bring attention to the 'water-energy nexus', and especially how to redress inequalities for the world's 'bottom billion' in slums and impoverished rural areas, who lack safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and sufficient food and energy services.
Yara's Position Paper on Water Use Efficiency presents the dilemma of a need to increase food productivity sharply to keep pace with global population growth, with water scarcity already a limiting factor, and agriculture currently accounting for about 70% of world freshwater use. At current rates of water consumption, agriculture alone will need more than the sustainable global availability of water by 2030 - this so-called 'water gap' clearly demands agricultural innovation to improve water use efficiency.
"In our Position Paper, we stake a claim in the transformation to a more water efficient agriculture due to our role as a crop nutrition company," says Yara’s ‘New Business’ Director Hans Goossens. "Yara's work on fertigation road-maps and software, the acquisition of ZIM Plant Technology, and of course the agronomic research at Yara’s R&D facility Hanninghof in Germany, all demonstrate our determination to improve water use efficiency in agriculture."
Hanninghof's study of the deeper link between crop nutrition and water use efficiency of the crop recently resulted in a scientific contribution at the 'Nexus 2014: Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference', hosted by the Water Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and collaborators in early March.
Building on the Water, Food and Energy Nexus Conference held in Bonn Germany in 2011, the 2014 meeting aimed to address the interlinked relationships between water, climate, energy and food. The conference attracted around 300 delegates - including scientists and practitioners working in government, civil society and business - from over 30 countries.
"Yara presented how crop nutrition contributes to efficient water use, and the event was an excellent opportunity to make contacts," says Senior Scientist in Yara, Holger Brueck. "It was good to see the many linkages between our activities and the overall topic of water, food and sustainability of cropping systems."