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Water, Energy and Food interactions: taking a new look at old problems

Jeremy Bird, IWMI

ADB, 19 September 2013

Time for a new approach.

For most of the last century, economic growth was fuelled by what seemed to be a certain truth: the abundance of natural resources. We mined our way to growth. We burned our way to prosperity. We believed in consumption without consequences. Those days are gone.. Over time, that model is a recipe for national disaster. It is a global suicide pact.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, World Economic Forum 29th January 2012.

Humanitys greatest challenge

To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we need to produce 50-70% more food and raise nutrition levels
and at the same time reverse environmental degradation

Extent of degradation
25% of land in a degraded state. 752 Mha affected by water erosion. 549 Mha affected by wind erosion. 34 Mha of irrigated area saline Economic cost of land degradation in Africa in 2003 USD 7.5 billion.
increasing to USD 14 billion by 2020 if current situation is not reversed.

Extensive water quality impacts globally affecting water availability.

Water for a food-secure world

Energy growth drives up water demand

Global energy supply forecast to grow by more than one third by 2035 with high dependence on fossil fuels supported by subsidies 6 times higher than renewables.... . Water needs for energy production are set to grow at twice the rate of energy demand. (World Energy Outlook, 2012)

UN Water Water Security Definition

The capacity of the population to
safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being and socio-economic development, for ensuring protection against water-borne pollution and

water related disasters and for

preserving ecosystems in a climate of peace and political stability

ADB, AWDO 2013

Water, energy food security nexus, Bonn2011

Sectoral nexus wins

Increases in agricultural water productivity can reduce both water and energy consumption

Energy efficiency measures can reduce water footprint

Sectoral nexus losers

Subsidy on electricity for groundwater irrigation pumping

Shift to more water intensive energy mix, e.g. fracking, bio-fuels

New partnerships are addressing nexus related issues

CGIAR Research Agenda

IWMI is involved in five CGIAR research programs

Some examples of addressing interactions

Activity Nexus implications
Reducing electricity consumption in agriculture and unsustainable abstraction
More crop per drop transfers to higher priority uses Optimizing the set of benefits energy, food, provisioning and regulating ecosystem functions Replacing energy intensive fertilizer production, foregone energy consumption of waste treatment, reduced pollution loads

Addressing the thorny issue of groundwater subsidy

Raising water productivity Balancing natural and built infrastructure Using waste as a resource

Groundwater crisis in Gujarat, India

Free electricity encouraged groundwater use, leading to..

Groundwater overdraft High electricity

consumption and cost to State Unreliability of domestic supply
Safe Semi-critical Critical Over exploited Saline

led to new approach of the Jyotigram program, Gujarat

Regulation doesnt always work

Pragmatic solution separation of electricity supply to villages and pumps Outcome - reduced electricity use, less groundwater use, improved power supply to domestic users, higher yields Similar schemes now proceeding in neighboring states

Why a groundwater based solution for Bengal?

Groundwater use status in India

High GW potential Only 42% of its potential is used and less than 10% blocks are critical, none are over-exploited 80% of farmers depend on GW
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Ground Water Policy change

Agricultural growth in West Bengal had slumped by more than half Research identified major obstacle was access to groundwater New policies adopted to reduce red-tape and access for smallholder farmers. Could benefit more than 5.6 million smallholders
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Integrated response at policy level

India is taking up the challenge

Resilience of ecosystems to become a central plank of policy 20% increase in water use efficiency of irrigation National Aquifer Management Programme cut energy losses and stabilize groundwater convert watershed management programme into a productivity enhancing instrument management of liquid and solid waste promoted together with recycling and reuse Indian cities and industries have to reinvent their water trajectory paradigm shift in flood management away from building more embankments State Water Regulatory Authorities autonomy and accountability Model Bill for Protection, Conservation, Management and Regulation of Groundwater

Water productivity improvements are possible

More food, less water ADB TA
Cities in China take an increasing share of water. but agricultural output remains relatively steady

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Natural and built infrastructure striking a balance increasing the total benefit stream
Natural basin
Hydropower Industrial Crops Regulation of water balance Erosion control Nutrient cycling Soil formation Climate regulation Recreation Nutrient cycling Soil formation

Intensively utilized basin

Hydropower Crops Regulation of water balance Erosion control Climate regulation Industrial


Multifunctional green basin Provisioning services Regulatory services Cultural services Supporting services
Hydropower Industrial Recreation Nutrient cycling Soil formation Crops Regulation of water balance Erosion control Climate regulation

A continuum of water storage optionsbut how to link disjointed governance and planning systems?

Managed aquifer recharge in the Isfara River basin

Example of joined-up thinking

V, m/d
6.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0

Infiltration rate


Modeling MAR indicated potential for storing 100 Mm3 of winter flow

Water depth, cm

Over 38,000 m was infiltrated during 14 days experiment in April, 2010 and 20,200 m at the 30 days experiment in April, 2011 from the trench of 0.1 ha area

0.0 1.04.10



10.04.10 13.04.10

2160 2165 2170 2175 2180 2185 2190 2195 2200 0 Well1 500 Hours 1000 1500

Potential Solution: Under Ground Taming of Floods.

Basin Scale Conjunctive Use to Mitigate Floods, Improve Livelihoods and Increase Food Security. Develop strong proof of concept in technical, economic & institutional terms Evaluate opportunities for up-scaling & outscaling
Currently Wet Season

UTFI Wet Season

Assessing regional prospects (Eastern Ganga initially) Developing conceptual hydrological modelling of pilot design Selection of pilot catchments (Ganga & Chao Phraya basins) Determine costs and benefits of options Identifying institutional arrangements for sharing benefits and costs between farmers and flood agencies


UTFI Dry Season

Flood risk in the EGB

Smallholder Agricultural Water Management: Potential to Impact Millions in Africa

SSA: motor pumps 122 million potential rural beneficiaries Net revenues up to US$7.5 billion/yr. Tanzania: motor pumps could benefit 2-3 million people.

High Medium Low

Targeted Investment in Tanzania Research and dialogue at policy level result in increased funds and visibility for agricultural water management (AWM). Outcomes The Parliamentary Committee pledged to support budgetary increase in the Ministry of Agriculture around proposed AWM solutions. Ministry of Agriculture budget increased by Tsh 10 billion (USD 6 million). Additional support possible. Permanent AWM discussion platform established at Sokoine University.
Key partners: Eng. Mbogo Futakamba, Deputy Permanent Secretary; Dr. Nuhu Hatibu, CEO, Kilimo Trust; Prof. Mahoo, Sokoine University

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Scaling Up: Smallholder Access to Water & Markets

Backward Linkages (Inputs)

Forward Linkages (Agricultural Products/Markets)




Resource/Livelihood situation

Externality Management

Rapid Participatory Opportunity and Constraint Analysis (RPOCA) Methodology which provides insights into: Where to invest? Who could benefit? What types of interventions work best? How to intervene? Actors: What support is needed and from whom?

Looking at waste differently - what if waste and used water could have a second life in agriculture and pollution of water bodies reduced?

Growth of Bangalore and Hyderabad


Rapidly increasing urban influence on water resources

e.g. Hyderabad, India
Godavari River water
ped pum ter Wa


Godavari Basin



Krishna Basin

Musi River

Osman Sagar

Waste water irrigation


Musi River

at er pu m

Himayat Sagar

Krishna River

pe d


GW Ground Water NJS Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir

Source: van Rooijen D, Turral H and Biggs TW. 2005. Sponge City: Water Balance of mega-city water use and wastewater use in Hyderabad, India. Irrigation and Drainage 54: 81-91.


Sources: IWMI/J. Ensink

Water Quality over 40 km along the Musi River

Fecal sludge management?

In most cities in SSA, S. Asia and SE Asia, population growth outpaces the development of sanitation infrastructure, making the management of urban waste, human excreta and wastewater ineffective.

Water pollution in peri-urban areas and downstream

Also an opportunity?

Waste water

Piped water

In the economically important rural urban interface it is difficult to find a reliable unpolluted water source

IWMI works closely with WHO and FAO on risk mitigation

Assessing extent of reuse, risks, and benefits. Developing and testing low-cost options for microbial risk reduction (multi-barrier approach from farm to fork). Supporting international guidelines and capacity building.

Closing the nutrient loop ?

Example of a business model currently being implemented in Ghana as a Private Public Partnership :

Fecal Sludge Valorization

Current Status of RRR program after 18 months

Database of 150+ inspiring RRR business cases Selection of 60 cases for in-depth analysis (see map) So far 20 promising business models extracted Feasibility studies of models starting in 9 cities Business model implementation targeting 5 cities

Reorient irrigation bureaucracy? Proving difficult..

Changes in governance systems Unbundle irrigation agencies and farmer management Benchmark performance Create incentives (better pay) and accountability.

Realistic ISF and 100% collection

Revitalize canal irrigation in South Asia

Taking a new look at old systems distributed storage to improve system flexibility and reliability village tanks replenished by canal water modernized irrigation e.g. pressurized systems groundwater recharge and conjunctive use with surface water
Water for a food-secure world

IWMIs research program:

work at the interface of research and development providing the evidence for change place ecosystem health at heart of sustainable intensification: CGIAR Water, Land and Ecosystems program turn problems into solutions - innovate

focus on increasing the resilience of people and systems

help close the policy - implementation gap promote policy coherence across sectors
Water for a food-secure world

Research for Development



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CGIAR Water Land and Ecosystems Program the vision: A world in which agriculture thrives within vibrant ecosystems, where communities have higher incomes, improved food security and the ability to continuously improve their lives

3. Addressing degradation

4. Variability management

2. Business models

1. Harnessing productivity

Windows Funding
CCAFS Drylands Humid Tropics AAS


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