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Poor communities, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa will be the most at risk, given the high degree of natural resource-based livelihoods, social and climatic vulnerability, food insecurity, future growth in water demand, and decline in food production as a result of droughts or floods. In 2012, Eighteen million people in the Sahel region face food shortages from a combination of climate change, low productivity, political conflict and soaring prices.
The Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) of the CGIAR has analyzed poverty-water relationships on 10 river basins including: the Andes and São Francisco in South America; the Limpopo, Niger, Nile and Volta basins in Africa; and the Ganges, Indus, Karkheh, Mekong, and Yellow in Asia. These basins – distinct and gargantuan geographic areas defined by water flows from high-ground to streams that feed major river systems – cover 13.5 million square kilometers and are home to some 1.5 billion people, and half of the world ’ s poorest .
Climate change and increased disaster risks being mostly felt through alterations in the hydrological cycle, impacting on water availability, communities access to water and sanitation, and ultimately affecting people ’ s health, nutrition and food security.
It costs about 21,000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of roasted coffee. For a standard cup of coffee we require 7 gram of roasted coffee, so that a cup of coffee costs 140 litres of water. Assuming that a standard cup of coffee is 125 ml, we thus need more than 1100 drops of water for producing one drop of coffee. Drinking tea instead of coffee would save a lot of water. For a standard cup of tea of 250 ml we require 30 litres of water.
The water footprint of pure chocolate is 2400 litres for a 100-gram bar (as a world average!). Composition of dark chocolate: 40% cocoa paste (water footprint 33260 litres/kg); 20% cocoa butter (water footprint 50730 litres/kg); 40% sugar (water footprint 1526 litres/kg). We then can calculate: 40% 33260 + 20% 50730 + 40% 1526 = 24060 litres/kg = 2400 liters for one 100gr chocolate bar. The water footprint of milk powder is 4600 litres/kg, so that milk chocolate will have a bit larger water footprint (about 2500 litres for one 100gr chocolate bar) than dark chocolate when total cocoa content remains the same. Most crucial for the water footprint of chocolate is the cocoa paste and cocoa butter content.
The major part of the water footprint of a hamburger refers to the water needed to make the feed for the cow.
Huge potential to continue to increase production in areas where levels are currently low, if proper access to water and markets is given to communities. This, in turn, could create the right incentives for 'sustainable intensification ’ . There is a need to go beyond concepts of 'transfers', such as Payment for Environmental Service schemes, to more nuanced agreements that promote collaboration and 'win-win' situations where benefits are shared between different groups. Benefits (and risks) need to be shared in order for all of the diverse actor groups that make up society to be able to develop. While globally there is enough water to sustain human development and environmental needs, water-related conflicts will continue if we do not manage our resources well. A radical reform of how water is managed and used is necessary. This includes reform of the institutions that govern water resources . For the most part, there is a complete fragmentation of how water is managed amongst different actors, and even countries, where the water needs of different sectors—agriculture, industry, environment, mining—are considered separately, rather than as interrelated and interdependent. Institutions must develop a holistic approach to address the issues of unequal development that lead to unequal sharing of resources and benefits.
Long-standing project in Zimbabwe. In Gwanda district, a diverse and active innovation platform has created a strong local market for goats , helping raise the value of one goat from US$10 to $60. The increased value serves as an incentive for farmers to invest in the survival of their goats, by growing their own stock feed, purchasing commercial stock feed and improving rangeland management. The innovation platform has engendered a virtuous cycle, in which farmers ’ self-esteem and confidence has improved and a more biodiverse and productive farming system has emerged. And the system is more resilient than before; the rainwater that falls on the improved production systems is now adding value to the system and water is also saved by the sharp reduction in goat mortality.