Fresh water. It’s our most precious resource. We can’t exist without it. We are already using just over half of all fresh water impounded in our rivers, lakes and aquifers, and we’re taking out more than is going back in each year, so the current rate of use is not sustainable.
Rice is a major culprit. Irrigating rice is currently the largest single use of the planet’s freshwater resources, both above and below ground.
Fact: It takes 2000-5000 liters of water to produce one kilo of paddy rice.
As the global population adds another 2 billion people, demand for rice will increase significantly. At the same time, more people will mean more competition for water for domestic and industrial purposes. The daily drinking water requirement per person is 2-4 litres, but it takes 2000 to 5000 litres of water to produce one person's daily food.
With SRI or More Crop Per DropTM irrigation water use is reduced by 25-50% and sometimes more. Under SRI management, fields are not continuously flooded, in order to promote the proliferation of beneficial, root-enhancing soil microorganisms. Farmers can thus continue to cultivate rice where water is becoming scarcer or rains unpredictable. Less water used at the head of canals means more water is available for farmers at the end. Water can be freed up for other crops, people and habitats.
Just a 10% reduction in water applied to rice is the equivalent to the annual domestic water needs of one-quarter to one-half of the world’s population!