OECD Research Pinpoints China, India and US as Water Scarce Hotspots

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By Lauren Anderson

The People’s Republic of China, India and the US bear the greatest risks of water scarcity in agriculture, according to a publication by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report titled, ‘Water Risk Hotspots for Agriculture,’ concludes that, without action, water scarcity in these three countries could aggravate food insecurity and affect development.

The report highlights that climate change will amplify stresses on water availability such as extreme water events, sea level rise, worsening water quality, groundwater depletion, and intensifying cross-sector competition. A confluence of these factors may negatively impact agriculture, especially in regions unprepared to respond. To address these issues, the analysis assesses future water risk hotspots across 142 countries, finding that China, India and the US are most exposed. Potential outcomes could impact food production, markets and prices, and food insecurity and socioeconomic progress.

The publication proposes a three-tiered approach to mitigate the risks in hotspots. It includes: prioritizing action; strengthening market and trade relations; and international collaboration. The publication is one of the OECD’s ‘Studies on Water,’ which offer policy analysis and guidance on the economic, financial and governance aspects of water resources management.

Source: IISD Reporting Services

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