Constantly monitoring the growth of irrigation

Photo credit: IWMI

Irrigated Area Map Asia(2000-2010) and Africa(2010). Source: IWMI Water Data Portal


Irrigated Africa and Asia

New map is most detailed to date


Irrigation has long been accepted as a vital step towards more productive food systems. However its use globally is patchy. In Africa, for instance, only about 5% of agriculture is irrigated. For a continent where much rainfall is highly seasonal, this remains a huge barrier to improved food security and better incomes for farmers. But change is afoot. Slowly but surely more and more of Africa is becoming irrigated.

It important to keep track of these changes as they will alter landscapes and affect the natural systems that support agriculture. Only by constantly monitoring the growth of irrigation, can sustainability and ecosystem health can be assured.

For policy makers, finding out just how much irrigation is going on, and exactly where this is happening is essential. If the trends can be accurately mapped and measured, then more informed investment decisions can be taken and water supply can be maintained for the long term.

Read the full article: IWMI

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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