Think.Eat.Save. This is the theme for World Environment Day on 5 June. Here at the Ramsar Convention Secretariat we examined the link between the role of water and food production in our World Wetlands Day material for our campaign day on 2 February of this year. We noted that up to 70% of freshwater resources are utilized for agriculture and food production.
|Amvrakikos gulf, Greece © Dionysis Mamasis|
To keep pace with the growing demand for food, it is estimated that 14% more freshwater will need to be withdrawn for agricultural purposes in the next 25 years. On this World Environment Day, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands joins in worldwide celebrations and calls for more actions to increase water efficiency in agriculture and reduce water losses and waste from field to fork.
Wetlands and agricultural water management
In our World Wetlands Day brochure for 2013, we looked broadly at various water management perspectives, for example at the many challenges of transboundary, agricultural and urban water management. Water demands for agriculture, and the impacts agriculture can have on water quality are key management issues in maintaining both food and water security. Wetlands and the management of them are crucial in achieving a balance between food and water supply and the maintenance of ecological character and ecosystem services. The Ramsar Convention has called for governments – from local to national - to recognize wetlands as the primary source from which humans derive water and that they are a critical component of the water cycle that keeps us supplied with water. Managing water is the responsibility of all of us and implies actions from the global to local level, from high level decision-maker to local householder.
Your food choices have a direct impact on the environment!
As consumers we can commit to recycle, reuse and conserve water in our private lives whether it is through rainwater harvesting, water-friendly garden design, reducing water usage in our home, making water-conscious decisions about the food we eat, or supporting our local wetland. Such choices require access to information and it is important that consumers challenge manufacturers and ask for product transparency from businesses and governments alike. Only when information is available on the impacts of products on the water cycle system will consumers be able to make conscious choices about what they buy.