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Out of Water: From Abundance to Scarcity and How to Solve the World’s Water Problems by Samyuktha Varma, Colin Chartres

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Chapter Five: Agriculture and Water

“Truths are first clouds; then rain, then harvest and food.”

Henry Ward Beecher

Agriculture is by far the biggest consumer of water at the global level. Agriculture is also one of the sectors of the economy in most developing countries that employs many poor people. Consequently, agriculture, water, and poverty are inexorably linked. In the developing world virtually any steps aimed at improving agricultural productivity can have beneficial or negative impact on the poor. For example, one way to increase productivity is for fewer larger farms to use water more efficiently. However, this might negatively impact the poor by reducing employment opportunities. In democratic countries like India, the relationship ...

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