With a projected 25 per cent and 50pc increase in United States and world populations respectively by 2050, substantial increases in freshwater use for food, fibre and fuel production, as well as municipal and residential consumption, are inevitable, according to a new publication from the Council on Agricultural Science & Technology (CAST).
This increased water use will not come without consequences, and as one of the largest users of water in the US, agriculture will be affected significantly by changes in water availability and cost.
An abundant, reliable supply of water to meet demands cannot be taken for granted, CAST said.
To evaluate current trends, summarise key vulnerabilities and identify possible solutions to current and future challenges, CAST convened a task force of eight scientists, educators and resource analysts who have prepared the new CAST Issue Paper, Water, People & the Future: Water Availability for Agriculture in the United States.
Through case studies, the new CAST publication discusses the diverse demands for water resources using the impacts, regulations, challenges and policies of four specific areas of the US: California, Arizona, Florida and the High Plains — with particular focus on the implications for agriculture.
The full text of the issue paper (20 pages) may be accessed free of charge on http://www.cast-science.org/websiteUploads/publicationPDFs/CAST%20Water,%20People%20and%20the%20Future%20Issue%20Paper%2044%20FINAL167.pdf