Peak Water – Maybe…

Blog, Environment, Les Routledge (historic), Poverty, Property Rights (historic), Rural, Uncategorized, Water (historic)

Gwynne Dyer has penned an op ed that claims the world is running out of water required to produce food.  He points to examples like Israel and Saudi Arabia who have cut back on wheat production and now import most of their grains.

I take a different view of this change in that these two examples are situations where markets have been allowed to function and supply the consumers with the lowest cost product.  That solution also happens to conserve scarce supplies of water for human use instead of expending it on producing quite expensive grain.

While I have not problem with sustainable irrigation that uses water that is replenished by nature over time, the idea of producing crops using fossil water is problematic in my mind.

On a global scale, a lot of land is used to grow crops that supply fuel, fibre, industrial feed stocks, or recreational purposes.  In the event that supply does become scarce, hopefully governments will allow market forces to function and allocate land use and, by extension, grain supplies to human consumption instead of nice-to-have products like bio-fuels, natural fibers (e.g cotton, linen), industrial products, or golf courses and camping grounds.

In addition, hopefully the world can figure out how to solve the challenges of civil conflict that are the root cause of starvation and hunger in many parts of the world.  It is challenging to farm when there is limit personal security and security of land tenure. led alone invest in drought proofing measures that will produce a more reliable and stable supply of food.