Water, Food and the Technology that Ties Them Together

Perspective


Featured in the December issue of our magazine.

In March, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly declared 2018-2028 the International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development. In making the declaration, the UN noted, “Clean, accessible water is critical for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger, and it is indispensable for human development, health and well-being.

There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. But water-related challenges, including limited access to safe water and sanitation, increasing pressure on water resources and ecosystems, and an exacerbated risk of droughts and floods,remain high on the global agenda.”

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) board of directors agrees that water challenges have reached a critical level. We have made water-related issues a priority this year, and hope to lead the discussion on solutions that preserve Illinois soybean producer productivity and profitability. We plan to keep ISA at the center of water quality and availability discussions.

Water Food Tech

Others also are ringing the alarm on water. According to the World Economic Forum, water is the number one global risk to society; and not just in agriculture.Eight out of 10 U.S. companies face water challenges, finds a study completed by Pacific Institute and VOX Global in 2014.

So, where to begin. Big picture water issues like those outlined by the UN just generate conversation about the related concerns below the surface. For example, the world has sufficient fresh water, but who owns fresh water rights around the world?Who is investing in these rights? With limited access to safe water and sanitation,what technology is used to manage water today and what technology is underdevelopment? Exacerbated risk of droughts and floods raises the question of what crops should be produced most efficiently in Illinois, the U.S. and the world.

We dive into some of these topics in this issue. We talk about the future of water management and how irrigation, aquifers and plant technology enter into the discussion. We look at climate change and how that sometimes means water shortage and sometimes water surplus on farms and in cities. And we investigate how technology ties water to future food production.

We also present food for thought on other technology topics. As we approach anew calendar year, we are engaging with industry thought leaders about technology that will improve the food production system, as well as innovative ways on how to pay for these upgrades. See what else we have to say at ilsoy.org. And, as always, we welcome feedback on information we provide.Watch for our new publication name beginning with the January 2019 issue.