The Water Innovation Lab is dedicated to finding solutions to the global challenges of water scarcity, climate change, sustainable agriculture, and food security.
- It is estimated that food production will need to at least double by the year 2050 in order to meet global food demands, and this might even be higher in parts of Sub Saharan Africa and Asia where population growth rates are higher.
- Increased food production will place enormous pressures on existing land and water resources.
- The productivity of prime agricultural lands is declining due to land conversions to non-food producing purposes, loss of soil fertility, soil erosion, and salinization.
- Bringing new lands under intensive agriculture is leading to deforestation, degradation of watersheds, and loss of biodiversity.
- We are witnessing unprecedented water scarcity in many parts of the world, deteriorating water quality being due to intensive agriculture as it destroys vital aquatic ecosystems.
- Climate change and the resultant effects of variable precipitation and temperature will only exacerbate food and water insecurity. Indeed, food and water are intrinsically liked to climate change, as it is estimated that agriculture emits over 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Our research projects and programs focus on the design, development and testing of technologies and field practices which can conserve water, and increase food security under water-limiting conditions.
Methods of water management which reduce both non-point source pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in intensive crop production systems are also being investigated. Researchers and students make use of the very extensive and specially-instrumented watershed, field and laboratory facilities, and simulation models developed in the Lab over the past 30 years.