Securing water for food is a challenge fund that will provide investment support in order to enable production of more food with less water.
Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development
Securing Water for Food is a new challenge fund supported by Sida. The fund will provide investment support for technological and business model innovations that will enable production of more food with less water in developing and emerging countries. It is launched at World Water Week in Stockholm on 2 September by Gunilla Carlsson, minister for international development cooperation, and Chris Holmes, Water Coordinator, USAID.
“Producing more food with less water is critical. With the right technology we think we can half the amount of water that is used to produce food,” says Therese Sjömander-Magnusson, water expert at Sida.
More than 70 per cent of global water consumption is used for food production. Access to water is crucial, from the moment that seeds are put into the ground until the food reaches the table.
At the same time water scarcity is a major challenge. Forty per cent of the world's population live in areas impacted by water scarcity, and as the world population grows and their food preferences change, the demand for water will increase dramatically. Projections show that two thirds of the world’s population may suffer from water scarcity by 2025. Low income countries will be particularly affected.
To ensure there is sufficient water to meet future demand, technical solutions for reuse of wastewater, desalination and efficient water capture will be required. But such innovations rarely reach countries with the greatest needs.
“Sida and USAID are looking for the best technological innovations and business models from around the world. It could be completely new innovations or technologies and business models that are already established in certain markets, but haven’t yet been adopted in developing and emerging countries,” says Anne- Charlotte Malm, Senior Advisor at Sida’s unit for private sector collaboration. “We are seeking comments as well as questions from interested parties around the world to help us improve the program.”
More information on how to participate is described in the Request for Information (pdf).
Participating organizations must match the allocated funding with forty to sixty per cent market-based funding. This means that the fund will act as a catalyst for private sector investment.
“There are untapped opportunities in developing and emerging countries. Development assistance can help reduce the risk for companies to invest in these markets,” emphasizes Anne-Charlotte Malm.
This is the main reason why Sida in partnership with USAID is setting up the USD 25-million fund Securing Water for Food. The fund is a Public Private Partnership and Sida and USAID are now seeking more partners, both private and public. Companies and organisations with innovative solutions in the water sector are invited to apply for funding. Applicants may come from anywhere in the world but the innovation must be implemented in a developing or emerging country.
Securing Water for Food focuses on three areas that are critical to reducing water scarcity in the food value chain: water efficiency and reuse, the capture and storage of rainwater, and saltwater intrusion.
Improving water efficiency and reusing wastewater have the potential to significantly
extend the productivity of limited water resources particularly in the food value chain where water-saving benefits can have multiplier effects at various levels of the economy.
Effective water capture and storage systems are critical for extending temporal availability of water supply in regions where precipitation is seasonal. With projected increases in rainfall variability due to climate change and increased demands for food production, capture and storage systems at various scales are needed to secure water supplies throughout the year and build resiliency to drought.
Salinity of water supply is a major threat to food production. In coastal areas, overpumping and rising sea levels are leading to saltwater intrusion and farmers are forced to use marginal quality water for irrigation. With more than 30 percent of the world’s population living in coastal areas and drawing food supply from fertile deltas, urgent solutions are required to reduce the impacts of salinity on aquifer quality and food production.