World Water Day 2010

On World Water Day 2010, with the theme ‘Clean Water for a Healthy World,’ we are reminded of the critical importance of water to the lives of farmers. Farmers’ lives depend on using water sustainably, for their own health, the health of their farms and the ecosystems they depend on. We are expected to live in areas where water is absolutely scarce, while two-thirds of the nation’s population will have difficult access to adequate clean water. Farmers strive to improve water quality, and consequently their surrounding ecosystems. Water quality is a prerequisite for sustainable development. Farmers employ diverse measures to protect water quality, such as recycling waste water with innovative systems, minimizing the use of fertilizers by monitoring crop growth cycles, using leguminous crops in rotation or adopting organic agricultural practices, which build up the soil’s potential to retain soil moisture. NRWP Coordinator  said “Farmers around the nation use diverse but effective tactics to increase the sustainability of their water use, which is the determining factor in improving water quality.”Safeguarding and improving water quality is a shared responsibility, however. We  call on government and intergovernmental agencies to provide farmer-cantered investment in irrigation and rural sanitation systems.  NRWP advocates investment in precision irrigation systems, such as drip irrigation. Improving irrigation technologies will increase yields while decreasing the demand for water, as well as reduce runoff. Farmer centered research and appropriate technology transfer are crucial to the successful establishment of efficient irrigation systems. NRWP also supports the investment in smallholder farmers, who are mostly dependent upon rain-fed crops, to improve their water harvesting, storage and recycling capacity, which can result in a dramatic improvement in both food security and incomes.Investments in agriculture are very cost efficient and guarantee a high rate of return – both in terms of increased productivity and water conservation and quality.Recognizing farmers as key stakeholders for a rational use of the freshwater resources and safeguarding the water quality is crucial to achieving sustainable agricultural practices. Farmers’ involvement in policy making processes and provision of positive incentives for the adoption of good agricultural practices are effective means of protecting water and natural resources while enhancing agricultural production. “We are counting on foundations, governments and United Nations agencies to work with the national farmers’ organizations  and NGO’s of the nation to help us scale up the adoption of practices for using water in the most effective and efficient ways possible.”