Seventy percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water. Ninety-seven percent of all water on earth is salt water. Less than three percent of all the water is fresh water.
Of the 3% fresh water, only 0.3% is surface water that is easily accessible to us to drink or utilise in the production of the food and commodities we produce to stay alive. The rest is:
69% - Frozen
0.7% - In the atmosphere
30% - Underground
Water is a finite resource. The amount of water that was on earth a million years ago is here now and will not increase. What has to change is how we utilize this valuable and life-giving resource to stay alive. We need to learn not to waste. Of the fresh water that we use:
70% is used for agriculture
20% for industrial purposes and
10% for households and human consumption
To produce food we have to innovate constantly to find new ways to use less and waste less in the production of our food.
To produce one kilogram of beef it takes 15 000 litres or 15 m³ of water.
To produce one kilogram of rice it takes 3 500 litres or 3.5 m³ of water.
We are fortunate that in modern agriculture, innovation has brought us the means to efficiently monitor water content in the soil. This allows for efficient irrigation through new and less wasteful irrigation systems like surface and underground drip irrigation. But still, more than 60% of water used for irrigation in agriculture is wasted through inefficiencies. By effectively measuring the available water in the root zones of different crops, it will help curb these losses.