CHICAGO (PRNewswire-USNewswire) — Amid growing public awareness that water is not an unlimited resource, scientists and policy makers alike are working to reduce the water footprint of food production and ensure a safe ocean habitat for future supplies of fish and seafood.
Less than 3 percent of the Earth's water is fresh, and its distribution is far from even throughout the world. In fact, nine countries harbor 60 percent of the available fresh water, reports the World Business Council for Sustainable Development: Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Russia and the United States. As climate change and expanding populations put more stress on local water supplies, it will become even more crucial to maximize available water resources for agriculture, which accounts for 70 percent of all water use, according to the latest series of interviews from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) FutureFood 2050 publishing initiative. FutureFood 2050 explores how increasingly sophisticated science and technology will help feed the world's projected 9 billion-plus people in 2050.
"I think we are in a very early stage of the water scarcity debate. We still really need to do something because the water footprint is increasing," says Water Footprint Network founder Arjen Hoekstra, who coined the term "water footprint" in 2002 as a way of describing and comparing how much water consumers use. "The fact that [food and beverage] companies are talking about it is positive. [But] in the end, you have to recognize that talking doesn't change the world," he adds.