A Look Back on World Water Day and the Importance of Water Sustainability
Monday, April 14, 2014
Bayer Connect will be featuring an ongoing recap of the successful 2014 Ag Issues Forum to continue the coversation on important issues and topics in the ag industry. In recognition of World Water Day, we have collected the key points from the water security panel. Watch the full panel discussion on water security below or on our YouTube channel.
Late last month, World Water Day 2014 was recognized all around the world to raise awareness about the relationship between water and energy. The day encourages us all to address the broad range of issues that surround this interdependent relationship. As a community, we sometimes forget the importance of saving water. Most people aren’t aware of the role it plays in generating energy and providing the impoverished safe, clean water. When it comes to saving water and agriculture, it is important to remember that farming accounts for 70 percent of water used in the world today (OECD).
One of the main topics during the 2014 Ag Issues Forum was water security. A panel discussion addressed some of the water and energy challenges that farmers face. Three panelists were joined by Frank Sesno, former White House correspondent, to discuss water security and their different roles in supporting the issue: Mitchell Baalman, owner of FDK Partnership
; Gary Beck, farm manager of Hillside Ranch (showcase barley ranch for MillerCoors); and Dr. Marco Ugarte, sustainability manager, Water & Energy Stewardship at MillerCoors
The main take away from the discussion was that in order to save energy and water, communities and organizations need to come together and solve the problem. Baalman, in particular, had to save his Kansas farm by bringing in state representatives to advocate 20 percent less water usage a year. While it’s helping the water levels in the state, 20 percent, Baalman said, is still not enough.
Beck and Ugarte raised an interesting and relatable topic within water security. Hillside Ranch was approached to be the showcase barley farm for MillerCoors. In order to be successful, Beck had to go to The Nature Conservancy
for support in preserving the water surrounding the ranch. Water security is vital for MillerCoors, because 90 percent of any given beer is water.
Towards the end of the discussion, Sesno asked the panelists, “What do industry leaders need to know about the water issue?” Are managers of farms willing to change their strong-willed ways to conserve water and energy? Baalman admitted that they are willing to change, and if they don’t they will inevitably get passed by.
The UN System
has provided the following key messages as reminders as to why we recognize World Water Day:
1. Water requires energy and energy requires water.
2. Supplies are limited and demand for fresh water and energy is increasing.
3. Saving energy is saving water, and saving water is saving energy.
4. The “bottom billion” urgently needs access to both water and sanitation services, and electricity.
5. Improving water and energy efficiency is imperative as are coordinated, coherent and concerted policies.
Tell us one way that you conserve water on your farm or in your yard or home. Comment below or share with us on Twitter @Bayer4CropsUS.