Food manufacturers launch World Water Day video

By Michael STONES

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Water Water supply

Securing the future of food and drink manufacturing depends on safeguarding water supplies, said the government
Securing the future of food and drink manufacturing depends on safeguarding water supplies, said the government
The future of UK food and drink manufacturing depends upon safeguarding water supplies, says government minister Richard Benyon, in a new video from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) to mark World Water Day last week (March 22).

Water minister Benyon said in the video: “The production of food and drink products will require water to be taken into account in future decades much more than it has in the past.

“There is a genuine need to take into account the risks to the supply chain and baseline cost effects of water in the coming decades.”

Produced as part of the FDF’s Every Last Drop campaign, the video highlighted the importance of reducing the impact of water use along the food supply chain and outlined the government’s water policy.

The FDF’s director of sustainability and competitiveness Andrew Kuyk said: “Water is vital to ensuring safe and secure food supplies, now and in the future. Protecting and conserving this most valuable, natural resource is a primary concern for everyone involved in food production.

“This new video is an important tool in our efforts to promote greater water efficiency throughout our supply chains.”

Federation House Commitment

Many food and drink companies have signed the Federation House Commitment to cut water use, said the FDF.  Its signatories have pledged to reduce water use in their operations by 20% by 2020 compared with 2007.

So far, a 14.4% reduction in water use has been achieved.

Meanwhile, about 1.2bn people – almost a fifth of the world – live in areas of water scarcity, warned Supriya Kumar, communications manager at the Worldwatch Institute.

Another 1.6bn face economic water shortages. “The situation is only expected to worsen as population growth, climate change, investment and management shortfalls, and inefficient use of existing resources restrict the amount of water available to people,” ​wrote Kumar in a report Vital signs, global trends that shape our future.

Water stress

“It is estimated that by 2025, 1.8bn people will live in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, with almost half of the world living in conditions of water stress.”

Kumar recommended an integrated water resource management approach on a global scale in order to combat the effects of climate change. “This involves water management that recognises the holistic nature of the water cycle and the importance of managing trade-offs within it, that emphasises the importance of effective institutions, and that is inherently adaptive,”​ she wrote.


Worldwide water facts

• Global water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the past century, say the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and UN Water

• About 66% of Africa is arid or semiarid, and more than 300M people in sub-Saharan Africa currently live on less than 1,000m3​ of water resources per person

• Each person in North America and Europe (excluding former Soviet Union countries) consumes at least 3m3​ a day of virtual water in imported food, according to UN Water. That compared with 1.4m3​ a day in Asia and 1.1 m3​ a day in Africa.

Source: UN Water

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