Finding water for our food

Finding water and getting it to where it's needed has long been a challenge for food production. Hear Professor Søren Rud Keiding discuss the challenges we face finding water for our food.

Finding sources of water is a huge challenge.
Although we in ancient times used rivers and streams for food production and we still do in areas of the world, along the Nile and along larger rivers today, the most reliable and vital source for liquid water is groundwater. Groundwater is hidden, not easy to find and not easy to extract. So when we are extracting liquid water from the aquifers we have to do it in a careful way in order to protect the reservoirs we have and in order also to make sure that we do not impose water stress on our environment. For Grundfos it has always been key to be devoted to managing the groundwater resources in pumping them up, in maintaining them and also in protecting them from pollution.

70% of the water we use today, we use for food production. Most of the water will evaporate from the green leaves of the plant and a very little is built into the new molecules we make. It takes 200 water molecules to convert one CO2 molecule into biomass. In the production of rice, a lot of water is used. We estimate that half of the water we use for food production is actually used to produce rice. We could dream in the future that in addition to taking these water-favourable properties of one plant and move them to another we could do the same with fertilisers. Plants are very efficient in taking out nitrogen from the air. So it's basically airborne fertilisers that they use.

While others, for example soybeans, need a lot of fertiliser. If we again could combine those properties we could think about future crops and plants
that were much, much more efficient in their use of fertilisers and thereby use less energy. So we can limit the amount of water use. We can limit the amount of energy and fertiliser used and then we can maybe hope to be able to produce more food in the future in a more sustainable way.

Course overview

Modules: 6
Completion time
Completion time: 30 minutes
Difficulty level
Difficulty level: Intermediate