Rationalizing the use of water for food production, when the Earth is thirsty more than ever: specialists and politicians are addressing the issue on the second day of the International Water Forum in Brasilia.
In the wake of the publication of a worrying UN report that 5.7 billion people may be short of water by 2050, agriculture must learn to be less greedy in this area.  For this, technology provides valuable assistance, with intelligent irrigation systems, drones, satellites or agricultural machinery connected to databases. The idea is to take advantage of each drop of water at the time of cultivating the land.
Perfect example of this concern: Brazil, the host country of this 8th edition of the Forum, which brings together 40,000 people including fifteen heads of state, 300 mayors of cities around the world, dozens of scientists and environmental activists.
The Latin American giant, one of the world's leading suppliers of food, spends more than 50% of water from rivers and lakes to the agricultural sector
"We want to reduce this quantity, develop more efficient plants, improve production systems and create more efficient equipment", explains to AFP Mauricio Lopes, president of Embrapa, the National Institute of Agricultural Research
"There is a boom in water management practices to save this resource, and also in plant genetics," he adds, and "this revolution is already here. "
Forum, Mr. Lopes participated in a roundtable on how the available water is consumed: "blue water", that of natural reserves like lakes, traditional source of crop irrigation, and "water green ", captured in soils and woods.
– Agriculture defends itself –
"At a time when we are under constant pressure on the quantity of water available, it is important to do everything possible to use these resources in the most Claudia Sadoff, director of the International Water Management Institute, headquartered in Sri Lanka.
"There will be places where traditional watering will be essential. and very effective and others where soil water and biomass will be the best option.This is a subject we will need to pay more attention to in the future, "she warned.
Another aspect of the complex relationship between water use and food production is the impact on the environment.
M. Lopes stresses that Brazil, a country with the richest biodiversity in the world and whose territory is home to nearly 18% of the world's drinking water, has "still" 66% of its territory covered by native plants.
" It is very important to discuss the link between water, nature and foods.Brazil is an extremely diverse country, there are six biomass, we have very sensitive areas and to maintain this biological richness, it is necessary to water, "points out the agronomist.
" We must lead an intelligent management of the water resource in order not to lose (this) balance, "he adds.
Preserving the water does not prevent to watch also the farmers: the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Isabel Garcia Tejerina, thus evoked the use of the technology like a way to revitalize the rural world, essential for food production.
"We are implementing an ambitious broadband satellite internet coverage program across Spain as a way of to have a more connected campaign, which is crucial to give the same opportunities to young farmers and to keep them in rural areas, "she said.
The all-powerful agro-sector -industrialist, criticized by environmental advocates for his responsibility in deforestation, seized the opportunity of the Brasilia Forum to ensure his defense.
"We want to take advantage of this moment to demystify these topics and prove that the producer ru he takes care of the water and the land more than anyone, because in the end, if he destroys the water sources, he will destroy his own heritage ", pleaded the president of the Confederation of Agriculture and Fisheries ( CNA), Joao Marins, by unveiling a new irrigation program.