State of the Art of Water for Food Within the Nexus Framework

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Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports


Purpose of Review: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the state of knowledge regarding water for food within the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus framework. Three topics are considered: improved plant genetics; irrigation technology and practices; and urban agriculture. Recent Findings: Research in plant genetics has sought to understand plant mechanisms that produce higher-yielding crops, identify and map genetic loci regions responsible for desirable plant traits, and introduce new and safe methods of precision plant breeding. In addition, new discoveries in irrigation practices are crucial in sustaining and further increasing yields as a result of improved irrigation water use efficiency through near-real time spatio-temporal monitoring of soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and rainfall. Urban agriculture has been proliferating in recent years, and recent research demonstrates the possibility of non-traditional, urban farming methods to produce food in a water- and land-efficient way. Summary: Opportunities remain to increase water use efficiency and/or decrease water usage throughout the food supply chain. Food producers need to achieve greater value from the water used through enhanced management supported by new technology and guided by scientific findings evolving from multidisciplinary research. To achieve this, constant exchange is needed between regulatory agencies, farmers, food manufacturers, and researchers to ensure all stakeholders are up to date on the issues, policies, technologies, and discoveries related to water and food production sustainability.

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