The Challenge of Food Security
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The Challenge of Food Security

International Policy and Regulatory Frameworks

Edited by Rosemary Rayfuse and Nicole Weisfelt

This timely study addresses the pressing issue of food security through a range of interdisciplinary contributions, providing both scholarly and policy-making perspectives. It sets the discussion on food security within the little-studied context of its international legal and regulatory framework. The expert contributors explore the key issues from a development perspective and through the lens of existing governance and policy systems with a view to articulating how these systems can be made more effective in dealing with the roots of food insecurity.
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Chapter 7: Water and food security

Colin Chartres


Water and food security are inextricably linked. This is not simply because we need a lot of water to grow food (often estimated at approximately 1 litre of water per kilocalorie of food produced), but also because the thirst of agriculture for water has significant and often serious consequences for other water users and the environment. We often forget that human life is dependent upon a range of ecosystem services, such as a continued supply of fresh water, insects that pollinate, biologically healthy soils in which to grow our food and fibre crops, as well as biodiverse aquatic habitats and landscape that promote sustainable fisheries, forests and rangelands. Agriculture, as the largest consumer of global fresh water, can play a major role in facilitating these ecosystem services when it is well governed and managed, and harmonized with the environment. However, far too often, as has been seen in countless numbers of ‘closed’ basins (basins in which all the water has been consumed by users and which as a consequence no longer flow at their mouths), poor governance and management can lead to the major environmental degradation of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

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