Friday, May 25, 2018 | ePaper

Non-sustainable use of surface water may threaten food security

  • Print
IF Bangladesh fails to maintain environmental flow requirements (EFRs) in river ecosystems, it will face a food production loss of up to 23 percent in the future, says an international study as reported in The New Nation yesterday. It highlights the fact that India, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Italy and Greece, among others, would face a food production decline of 15-23 percent for lack of water flow in rivers.

Safeguarding river ecosystems is a precondition to attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to water and the environment, while rigid implementation of such policies may hamper achievement of food security, says the study published recently in a peer reviewed journal - Nature Communications.

River ecosystems provide life-supporting functions that depend on maintaining environmental flow requirements. And the current food production thus heavily relies on water that would actually be needed to sustain riverine ecosystems. The study tilted, 'Reconciling irrigated food production with environmental flows for Sustainable Development Goals implementation' indicates that 41 percent of current global irrigation water use (997 km3 per year) occurs at the expense of EFRs.

This number is significant, given that irrigation water sustains only 15 percent of total global food production, illustrating that maintaining EFRs will impinge on about a third of the current overall contribution to agricultural production made by irrigation - in the absence of water management improvements, according to the study. Freshwater is a finite resource, which is over-exploited around the world, and aquatic ecosystems are rapidly degrading in many regions.

Restoration of currently compromised river ecosystems through securing environmental flow requirements (EFRs) - that is, the daily river flow needed to maintain aquatic ecosystem services and the human livelihoods that rely on them - would entail a substantial reduction in water availability for irrigated food production.

One way of securing EFRs is by improving on the surface irrigation methods which we currently use. This will ensure that flows remain constant throughout a long period of geologic time. We can combine river with rainwater harvesting to ensure that use is optimal. Non-optimal usage will reduce our food security which is of tremendous importance to us as we have a huge population which is still increasing.

Producing more food reduces our vulnerability to other nations who we would be dependent on for food production. It reduces the burden on our foreign exchange reserves and makes us more self-reliant. There is no substitute for it but to use our riverwater in a sustainable manner. We don't have any options in this regard.


More News For this Category

Take action against stone miners for endangering biodiversity in hilly terrains

A NATIONAL daily on Thursday reported that unrestrained stone extraction in 200 streambeds across the Bandarban hill district jeopardized the livelihoods of 11 ethnic groups and extracted a toll on

Hasina`s India visit and getting water from Teesta

INDIA has kept talks on sharing of water of common rivers with Bangladesh stalled for over eight years holding back the signing of interim agreements on Teesta and Feni Rivers

Safety net to reduce poverty

Dr. M Abul Kashem Mozumder and  Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque :There has been phenomenal growth of anti-poverty programs over the last couple of decades. Anti-poverty programs are wide ranging covering

Agricultural trade liberalization undermined food security

Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury :Agriculture is critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) notes, 'From ending poverty and hunger to

Readers’ Forum

The neglected roadThe 2100 meter Mehdipur -Abdul Nabi Road (ID No-430255083) is a development Scheme about which a question was raised in the Parliament session (Q. No-1383, dated 07-04-2009 and

Yet no respite from waterlogging

NEWS and photographs published in different dailies speak about the continuous sufferings of the city-dwellers as the city's major thoroughfares go under deep water after a few hours rain. Waterlogging

About Rohingya children`s bleak future

FOLLOWING numerable foreign dignitaries, ministers, bureaucrats, Nobel laureates and the Pope -  a Bollywood celebrity  visited the Rohingya camps  commenting that the future of Rohingya children is deeply uncertain. The

Re-structuring and reforming of higher education

Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :The current education system is becoming outdated. Due to technological advances, traditional ways of doing business is also changing. This means students need to be creative

Can preventive diplomacy avert military conflicts?

Thalif Deen :In the paradoxical battle against military conflicts, is preventive diplomacy one of the political remedies that can help deter wars before they break out?Miroslav Lajcak, President of the

Readers’ Forum

Pasteurised milk unsafe!I am so worried to learn that pasteurised milk is not safe anymore. I got to know about this from a report on The Daily Star. In a