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Water scarcity is a central issue to sustainable food situation

According to the World Bank Global, agriculture accounts for 70% of all water use, but unfortunately water scarcity is becoming more prevalent. The UN projects a 40% global water shortfall by 2030.

In the UK, the food industry is awakening to the threat. Wrap has launched a new ‘Water Roadmap’ to “improve quality and availability of water” in 20 regions and work towards sourcing half of the UK’s fresh food from areas with sustainable water management by 2030.

Tesco, Aldi and Hilton, as well as 60 other organizations, are already signed up. And many businesses, of course, have commitments on water already. Britain’s supply of fruit and vegetables is hugely reliant on water-vulnerable regions such as Spain and North Africa, meaning without action winter strawberries and tomatoes may soon not be available anymore. While alternative sources could always be found, this will only mean higher prices and potentially disrupted supply, not to mention competing with other parties far more vulnerable than Britain.

Sources say food businesses will be punished financially for a lack of action. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) recently estimated the cost of inaction for agri-food businesses on water security is almost 20 times the cost of action.


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