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3 years ago

Food production v water

In today’s Guardian

"China needs to reduce food production on its dry northern plains or aquifers will diminish to a “dire” level in 30 years, one the country’s leading groundwater experts has warned.

Zheng Chunmiao, director of the Water Research Centre at Peking University, said the world’s most populous country will have to focus more on demand-side restraint because it is becoming more expensive and difficult to tap finite supplies below the surface.

"The government must adopt a new policy to reduce water consumption," Zheng told the Guardian. "The main thing is to reduce demand. We have relied too much on engineering projects, but the government realises this is not a long-term solution."

Zheng’s comments are based on his studies of the aquifers under the North China plain, one of the country’s main wheat growing regions. He said the water table is falling at the rate of about a metre a year mainly due to agriculture, which accounts for 60% of demand.

"The water situation in the North China plain does not allow much longer for irrigation," Zheng said. "We need to reduce food production even though it is politically difficult. It would be much more economical to import."

The government will be reluctant to accept such a radical step, which could weaken the country’s ability to feed itself. But it may not have a choice.” (for full article click here)

This is going to be more and more of a problem - Saudi Arabia is also facing challenges related to depleted aquifers (source). Stand by for more land grabs and calls for alternative agricultural practices based on high tech solutions.

  1. foodramblings posted this

AFSUN/ACC
University of Cape Town
South Africa
www.afsun.org/www.acc.uct.ac.za






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