17 Commitments to Combat Water Scarcity in Agriculture

On World Water Day in 2019, delegates from around the world gathered in Praia, Cabo Verde, at the first-ever WASAG International Forum on Water Scarcity in Agriculture to agree on active measures to combat the growing water crisis. What emerged amounted to 17 Commitments every bit as meaningful and actionable as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The commitments provide a clear recognition of a political will to overcome interrelated challenges, and a call to action for governments, farmers, and companies: “Sustainable, equitable and effective management of water for agriculture, as well as the importance of healthy ecosystems and their services for sustainable agricultural systems, are key drivers for the achievement of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement.”

As a company working at the forefront of the water crisis and providing a real solution which promotes water efficiency, Aqua4D is pleased to highlight these FAO commitments here, and the ways in which the company is fulfilling most of these goals.

Commitment 2: “Develop understanding and insights on the linkages across technologies, institutions and policies to achieve transitions in sustainable agricultural water use, to enhance water-use efficiencies, and to close gaps in line with specific and varying local contexts;”

Aqua4D actively cooperates with academic institutions such as Wageningen University and INACAP, and boards & associations such as the Palta Hass Committee in Chile, to raise the profile of the water scarcity issue and highlight how new technologies can help alleviate the crisis.

Commitment 4: “Promote water as a driver of development for all, addressing cross-sectoral trade-offs and maximizing synergies throughout Agenda 2030, while supporting national governments to reach their SDG targets;”

Through Chile-based partner IST Group, we help promote the Campo Responsable program which recognizes Chilean growers who are making sustainable efforts. By facilitating a switch to more sustainable agriculture and better water management, we help growers around the world reach their SDG targets.

Commitment 5: “Support farmers and farmers’ associations with improved access to financing, sound water management practices, and pertinent information, while recognizing the value of their local and intergenerational knowledge in increasing their resilience;”

Aqua4D actively works with associations such as the Palta Hass Committee to cooperate on alleviating the water crisis where it is hitting hardest. Moreover, we work closely with growers to align with real water management needs, and have a range of active agronomy experts on our team.

Commitment 6: “Promote good governance through sound policies and strategies, appropriate legislation, institutional frameworks and financial mechanisms, for all dimensions of water scarcity in agriculture;”

We work closely with organizations such as the Swiss Climate Foundation to approach water scarcity from a wide perspective. In 2020, Aqua4D will co-curate the Sustainable Agriculture section of the Climate Show in Montreux.

Commitment 7: “Support the institutionalization of a pro-active and risk-based approach to drought preparedness;”

Peruvian agronomist Enrique Rebaza, as reported in Hortidaily, explains how the Aqua4D system is helping South American farmers be much better prepared for climatic events such as El Niño.

Meanwhile, in December 2019, Aqua4D was a proud sponsor of 6D’s tree-planting initiative near Santiago, supplying irrigation management tools to the project.

Commitment 8: “Provide policy makers with guidelines and tools to appreciate the impacts of technology choices and investment decisions through knowledge products, technical assistance and information campaigns;”

With a fast ROI and through its own in-house financing program, Aqua4D incentivizes and promotes adoption of technologies which can help save water. Moreover, our Sustainability team highlight the ways in which use of the Aqua4D system saves not only water and resources, but also helps cut down on emissions due to reduced pumping times.

Commitment 10: “Encourage innovative technologies adapted to local conditions, including those that limit losses;”

Aqua4D increases yields and export quality, while our agronomists help ensure that each system is fine-tuned and uniquely adapted to the prevailing conditions across more than 40 different countries on five continents.

Commitment 11: “Bring focus on sustainable and efficient management of water resources in agriculture contributing to rural livelihoods;”

Our technology promotes irrigation optimization, allowing for water savings of 30% or more, which further multiply when combined with other technologies or changes in irrigation management. The resulting impacts can be felt in food security and at community levels, through both increased yields and the saving of precious resources where they’re most needed.

Commitment 12: “More nutrition per drop: Build a community of practice to strengthen the multi-level knowledge base on the links between nutrition and water management, and develop a framework to link water and food security.”

Aqua4D works in both academia and in the community, such as its participation in the huge recent tree-planting effort near Santiago de Chile. Our technology also promotes hardier, healthier plants which stay in a vegetative state for longer, with increased export quality.

Commitment 13: “Propose ways to live with salinity, particularly in the most vulnerable areas, since it is possible to produce more food from salinized areas;”

Aqua4D has been proven to not only solve existing soil salinity problems (such as in Brazil, where a field of 24 ha was saved), but also allow for irrigation with saline water.  This is due to the way the technology interacts with minerals in irrigation water (more info here), leaching the salts out of harm’s way.

Commitment 14: “Integrate climate-smart agriculture and innovative farming systems adopting sustainable management practices and proper drought/salt tolerant crops, including in marginal areas, to enhance food and nutrition security;”

Aqua4D helps farmers better prepare for fluctuations in water availability due to unstable climates (more on climate-resilient irrigation here). The technology helps soils stay moister for longer, thus lessening the impact of inconsistent rainfall, while food security is enhanced by promoting higher yields.

Commitment 15: “Promote a culture of sustainable water use in agriculture through better data on water resource availability and water use, awareness creation and capacity development;”

We work hand in hand with Ag 4.0 pioneers such as 2Grow and Aerobotics, who help growers measure the real-time impact of irrigation, through measurement tools and drone flights. In Latin America, the Campo Responsable program is being rolled out in cooperation with IST Group, which raises awareness for responsible water-smart growers.

Commitment 16: “Identify criteria and indicators for sustainable agricultural water use measurement and monitoring that address water scarcity risks in agriculture.”

Aqua4D has the best impact when the impact of the technology is closely monitored. Our agronomists promote the use of measurement apps such as Ag Spy / Aquaspy, which allow growers to keep track of water use, encouraging sustainable use of resources. Aqua4D’s tech keeps soils moister for longer, thus cutting irrigation times and helping alleviate water scarcity.

  • Sustainability

Engineers install a new Aqua4D system to combat water scarcity in Chile