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Water Security

Water Security

Water is one of the world’s most critical natural resources. Essential for virtually every form of life on the planet, it is also a key input for producing food and energy. By all accounts, the world is facing a multi-faceted water crisis, which is projected to get worse in the long run. This crisis is at once a global phenomenon as well as hyper-local, with communities around the world facing major problems at the intersection of physical access, pollution and depletion.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of access to groundwater for irrigation is posing the single biggest hurdle to agricultural productivity and food security. Much of South Asia (as well as many other parts of the world) are contending with severe water scarcity in the form of drought and depleted aquifers—made increasingly worse by climate change. And across both regions, rampant pollution of water sources is causing millions of deaths each year, particularly among children.

A number of technologies—ranging from energy-efficient desalination to sensors for detecting groundwater and depleted aquifers, affordable mechanized irrigation pumps, systems for removing toxins and pathogens, and rainwater storage—will be required to overcome the many faces of the global water crisis.

Water Security

Water is one of the world’s most critical natural resources. Essential for virtually every form of life on the planet, it is also a key input for producing food and energy. By all accounts, the world is facing a multi-faceted water crisis, which is projected to get worse in the long run. This crisis is at once a global phenomenon as well as hyper-local, with communities around the world facing major problems at the intersection of physical access, pollution and depletion.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of access to groundwater for irrigation is posing the single biggest hurdle to agricultural productivity and food security. Much of South Asia (as well as many other parts of the world) are contending with severe water scarcity in the form of drought and depleted aquifers—made increasingly worse by climate change. And across both regions, rampant pollution of water sources is causing millions of deaths each year, particularly among children.

A number of technologies—ranging from energy-efficient desalination to sensors for detecting groundwater and depleted aquifers, affordable mechanized irrigation pumps, systems for removing toxins and pathogens, and rainwater storage—will be required to overcome the many faces of the global water crisis.

Accessing shallow groundwater in a sustainable manner is crucial for increasing agricultural productivity and improving food security across Sub-Saharn Africa, and many parts of South Asia.

Geophysical sensors: Improving water security by detecting shallow groundwater and depleted aquifers

The lack of access to irrigation is one of the most critical hurdles to agricultural productivity and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, where only 5% of agricultural land is currently irrigated. The same is true is some parts of South Asia, such as the Eastern Indian states of Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand. In part because agriculture has not developed in these regions, there appear to be large untapped reserves of groundwater, many of which are shallow and recharged by rain. A recent study by the British Geological Survey found that 60% of African citizens live in areas where groundwater is less than 25 meters below the surface. More

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