We all can do our part for the planet

CT Food Justice VISTA Project is Recruiting

VISTA flyer recruiting services members for 2018-19 for food justice projectsThe CT-Food Justice VISTA Project is recruiting for the 2018-2019 year, and we are also seeking a VISTA Leader to help manage the project with our Project Assistant. Our project is sponsored by UConn Extension, in partnership with some of the most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations in low-income communities in Connecticut, is leading a multi-site project with 16 VISTA members in 2018-2019. This project is designed to strengthen programming and improve coordination among similar food security programs seeking to empower communities to create positive change in their food environment and improve access to healthy food.
VISTA Members help to build the capacity of their host site organization. Together, we strive for a multi-generational, racially and economically diverse group of leaders with the skills to move communities across Connecticut towards a just food system. With VISTA Member support, host sites commit to empowering their communities to have impact on food-related programs and services, and the food system in Connecticut as a whole.
 
Please see the links to the sites we are looking for both VISTAs and VISTA Leader:
 
For the VISTA Leader the applicant has to have served as an AmeriCorps Service Member or Peace Corps here is the listing for the VISTA Leader. The VISTA Leader will serve out of the UConn Extension office of Tolland County and need a car to travel to our partner organizations for site visits and member support.
 
Below you will find the listing to the sites we have across the state that are recruiting for VISTA Service Members:
 
Visit our website for more information on our project: https://sustainablefood.uconn.edu/ctfoodjustice/

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Secrets to successful irrigation management from Central Asia

As delegates are gathering this week in Tajikistan for the High-Level International Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development,” 2018-2028, it is an opportune moment to share some lessons learned in improving gender inclusiveness in water management in Tajikistan.
 
Khatlon Region is one of the most populated areas of Tajikistan and located to the south of the conference venue in the nation’s capital of Dushanbe. About 60 percent of the region’s people are employed by the agricultural sector, which depends almost entirely on irrigation. However, growing numbers of rural women in Khatlon are being left behind to manage farms, while males migrate elsewhere in search of work. With little social and financial support, these women struggle to find productive roles in the irrigation management system that replaced the centralized Soviet model. Improving gender inclusiveness in irrigation management may improve the country’s food security, rural livelihood opportunities, and social stability.   

A farmer in Tajikistan (photo: Madeline Dahm/IWMI)

Irrigation management in this Central Asian nation now revolves around Water User Associations (WUAs). WUAs are groups of water users, such as irrigators, who pool their resources for shared benefit. Recent research by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) validates the key importance of WUAs. However, the research also outlines the need to increase investments in capacity building for women’s inclusion in farming activities – especially as their workloads rapidly mount.

Growing pains
 
Farmers shared mixed feelings about the differences between the past Soviet model and current system. “All the people here were farm employees with salaries, child care, and social security,” said Saidov Shukurkhon, who once managed a collective farm in the region, “We didn’t have to worry about water problems; it was all managed by the government,” he continued.        
 
Women taking part in a focus group, however, viewed the past through a different lens: “Now, it’s better, because we have our own land. We have the freedom to decide what products we want.” With freedom come responsibilities, along with hardships that families involved with farming endured during the political transition. Managing and navigating the current system is difficult for many.
 
Abdulla Uguloi is one of only seven female leaders of the nearly 400 WUAs in the region. She accepted the role of WUA Secretary when the previous leader left the role. Upon accepting the role of Secretary, she quickly gained the respect and support of the predominantly male membership. Uguloi also captured the attention of government authorities, as she noted that: “We showed them our WUA can work.”
 
Learning to participate

The irrigation systems of Tajikistan fell into
disrepair after the collapse of the Soviet Union
and the country’s ensuing civil war
(photo: Neil Palmer/IWMI).


With the demise of the Soviet Union and Tajikistan’s ensuing civil war, irrigation infrastructure fell into disrepair, crop production nosedived, and the mass out-migration of male farmers began. The government of Tajikistan and international supporters began building the new irrigation management system once conflict ended. The new system centered on WUAs, and collective farms were divided into thousands of private (dehkan) farms. Several hundred private farms were grouped under each WUA, whose members are responsible for overseeing the delivery of water to farms. The country thus became part of a novel participatory irrigation management experiment across the developing world.
 
The experiment yielded a wealth of experience and insight to help improve irrigation management. For example, the WUAs set up by USAID received much longer training periods than provided to WUAs established by the government. Additionally, the training went hand in hand with the creation of formal and informal agricultural extension services.
 
Dekhan farms whose managers received longer training sessions were more likely to pay membership fees, attend WUA meetings, and contribute labor to canal maintenance. Meanwhile, the extension services not only improved the productivity of the established cotton and wheat rotation, but also helped farms diversify into horticultural crops for rural households and local markets.
 
Mind the gap: Research reveals there is work yet to be done
 
Because of a major upswing in out-migration, nearly half of the dehkan farms have been turned over to workers who did not receive training. According to IWMI research, there is no effect on WUA participation when untrained male workers take over farm operations. Females operating farms are much less likely to pay fees, sign water contracts, and take part in WUA meetings. The main reason is that departing male farm managers tend to only share knowledge with other incoming male leadership. Even though women now constitute 25% of new farm operators, they have not historically been associated with technical roles. This also explains their limited participation in land and water management training, which has so far been provided almost exclusively to male farm managers.
 
It is essential that future irrigation management training strengthens women’s technical capacities and leadership qualities. Otherwise, a widening knowledge gap will undermine the viability of irrigation management system. As Abdulla Uguloi explained, “…in every village, there’s a network of women who will step up to get the work done.” Investing in gender inclusion and equality may open the door to increased women’s leadership — which Abdulla said is the secret for successfully managed WUAs.

 

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MS4 General Permit Webinar

storm drain with bricks around the edge and water in the bottomOur UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) is presenting on webinar on Tuesday, June 26th at 2 PM on the Year 2 Task List for MS4 General Permits.

Connecticut’s updated MS4 permit begins its second year on July 1st. Now that a year has passed, MS4 towns and institutions may be getting the hang of things but with a new year comes at least a few new tasks. 

This webinar will cover the permit tasks that recur each year, highlight the new tasks due over the next year and provide an update on upcoming workshops and new tools.
Presenters:

Amanda Ryan, Municipal Stormwater Educator & Dave Dickson, NEMO Co-Director
 

 

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Can we regulate small and rural water supply and sanitation operators in Latin America?

The recent reforms in the water supply and sanitation (WSS) legal framework in Peru has given the National Superintendence of Water Supply and Sanitation Services of Peru (SUNASS) a new role in the regulation and supervision of service providers in small towns and rural communities, expanding its regulatory action beyond the urban area scope. Therefore, SUNASS needs to develop a regulatory framework and tools to effectively supervise around 28,000 small and rural operators, which provide service to 21% of the Peruvian population.
 

Delegates from SUNASS, with the support of the World Bank, visited different WSS sector entities in Colombia.

To achieve this goal, SUNASS, with the support of the World Bank, visited different WSS sector entities in Colombia which are responsible for the regulation, supervision and issuing policies regarding rural service provision. The objective of this South-South knowledge exchange was to gain valuable information from the Colombian counterparts about the challenges, lessons learned, and useful mechanisms for a successful reform process. 

The visit was focused on finding answers to the following questions: How can we regulate operators which we had no experience in dealing with previously? How can we collect data from these operators, and — even more importantly — what information do we really need to collect? What rates should be charged for the rural service provision and how do we calculate them?
 

Visit to a small water treatment plant of Empocaldas
located in rural area of Manizales

After an intense week of site visits and discussions, some answers started to emerge. Meetings with the Superintendent of Public Services, the Commission of WSS Regulation, the Ministry of Housing, Cities and Territories and a field visit to Empocaldas, a regional WSS operator located in Manizales (Colombia’s coffee region) gave the team a deep insight of the Colombia’s reform process –what has worked and what not- and the time needed for the implementation of such reforms. The team gathered relevant knowledge about business principles behind the operations of the Colombian WSS service delivery model, the importance of applying differentiated approaches and schemes for diverse locations and social contexts, the use of corporate governance and behaviour economics mechanisms, and the focus on coordination at all government levels. 

For instance, a better understanding of the methodology to estimate WSS tariffs for rural areas, the terms for rural providers to progressively reach service standards, the tool to formulate investment projects for rural areas and differentiated schemes, as well as the Integrated Information System that establishes differentiated monitoring for each population segment, were some of the key takeaways that the SUNASS team brought back to Peru. 

Many Latin American countries still face the big challenge of regulating the rural WSS sector. Throughout the last 20 years, Colombia, with its heavily decentralized structure of the WSS sector and its unique approach to involve the private sector, has been adjusting, on a trial and error basis, its policies and tools to improve the regulation and supervision of more than 1,300 service providers. Although not perfect to any standards, the experience gained Colombia is an extraordinary source of knowledge for many countries.   

Following the discussions that took place in the south-south exchange with Colombia during the visit  came apparent that it is possible to regulate small and rural WSS operators. However, as a recent World Bank report “Aligning Institutions and Incentives for Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Services” shows, countries need to be careful to not over emphasize “best practices” as there are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions. Therefore, Peru should follow its own pathway, reinforcing endogenous drivers for reform and working on the design of programs that are rooted into local, political and administrative realities and capabilities.

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Put Local on Your Tray Sign Ups for 2018-2019

put local on your tray image with apple for connecticut farm to school programVERNON, CT, (June 13, 2018) – UConn Extension and the Connecticut State Department of Education is currently inviting school food service professionals across the state to sign up for the Put Local on Your Tray Program in the upcoming 2018-19 school year. Schools and districts that sign up will get help increasing fresh, locally grown products in their cafeterias. Sign ups will be open until the new school year starts in September.

According to USDA’s 2014 Farm to School Census, over 70% of schools in CT are offering farm to school programming, which might include hands-on activities in school gardens, cooking classes after school, and/or serving local food in the cafeteria. CSDE and UConn Extension are now partnering to increase school commitments to more purchases from local farms. Districts who sign up for the Tray Program will pledge to feature local ingredients at least twice per season(s) of their choice. Schools choose the Farm to School promotional activities that fit their needs. For example, activities might include: hosting a special taste test in the cafeteria (e.g. kale chips), marketing the products they regularly get from local growers (such as milk), using a holiday or celebration day on the calendar to feature local produce (e.g. new varieties of apples promoted during CT Grown for CT Kids Week), or integrating a recipe into their regular menu that relies on local ingredients for several months (e.g. winter root slaw).

Last year, there were a total of thirty four districts who took the pledge. The program is in its second year and continues to learn, grow, and adapt as Farm to School grows. We hope to see an increase this year, with a goal of fifty school districts. Yolanda Burt, Senior Director of Child Nutrition for Hartford Public Schools and contributor for the Program’s suite of tools, thinks districts need to define ‘local’ for themselves. She states, “Our definition of local includes what is grown and processed within 250 miles of Hartford, and/or purchasing food from small businesses to support Hartford businesses and further job creation for Hartford residents.” Districts who sign up and take the pledge are encouraged to define the criteria for local products based on what is possible and meaningful to their community.

Food Service Director for Avon, Canton, and Regional School District #10, Maggie Dreher, says, “I believe we should provide our students with the freshest, tastiest ingredients possible. An apple is not just an apple, but a story – a potential place to connect to the community.” The Program welcomes those who are not a part of school food service to tell that story with Put Local on Your Tray communication materials, when educating children about local food. There is a materials request sheet available online, for interested school community members (teachers, parents, volunteers, etc.) to ask for any hard copies of our posters, bookmarks, stickers, etc. at http://putlocalonyourtray.uconn.edu.

Contact your school administrator or food service director to encourage them to sign up and be recognized and promoted as a Tray district! Many schools already supply local products, without necessarily promoting it as such (in items like milk, or certain produce from their distributors). Put them in touch with Put Local on Your Tray for credit to be paid where it’s due!

For more information please visit http://putlocalonyourtray.uconn.edu or call 203-824-7175. Put Local On Your Tray is a project of UConn Extension, in partnership with the CT State Department of Education, FoodCorps Connecticut, and New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC).

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China’s experience in tackling water scarcity through sustainable agricultural water management

Water scarcity is a pervasive problem across much of China. By the numbers, per capita water resources stand at only 2,100 cubic meters, which is one-fourth of the global average. Population growth, agricultural demands, and the adverse impacts of climate change further compound the challenge.
 
As China moves to secure water for all and provide a foundation for continued sustainable social, economic, and environmental development, there are many important lessons that have global relevance and application. 


Improving sustainable agricultural water management is a key country-wide water challenge; Irrigated agriculture is the main user of water resources (60%), followed by industry and domestic consumption. In the water scarce provinces, this percentage can go up to 90%. The problem is further exacerbated through conflicts between upstream and downstream users of China´s large rivers – upstream, farmers increase their use, while downstream users essentially have less water left for themselves.  Irrigated agriculture is a key contributor to rural employment and livelihoods for less than 30% of the country’s population (2014) and hence a matter of high political priority. According to World Bank data, the agriculture sector account for 8.6 percentage of the China GDP in 2016. The Government of China was therefore looking for real results in water conservation, in addition to increasing efficiency of use.  Experience shows that increasing efficiency alone does not reduce the overall water consumption as farmers may increase their production. 
 
The Water Conservation Project II supported by the World Bank tackled these water scarcity issues head-on through a series of interlinked operations in the Chinese provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, and Ningxia – three of the most water-scarce provinces in the Northern region of the country. To reduce net water consumption, the project sought to reduce water withdrawal for irrigated agriculture in Ningxia and Shanxi Provinces, and groundwater overdraft in Hebei Province.  In addition, the project also provided incentives to farmers to lower the agricultural production costs and increase the agricultural yield and value in all three of those provinces.
 
How did the Water Conservation Project II successfully reduce net water consumption?
 
First, the project’s integrated approach contributed to its success.  In particular, the project blended supply-side measures and demand management interventions, such as combining investments in engineering works, agricultural investments in land husbandry, agronomic measures, and improved irrigation technology and management. Additional approaches included the following:

  • Water-saving infrastructure
  • Technological improvements
  • Volumetric water pricing
  • Participatory agricultural water planning and self-management
  • Consumption-based water allocation and management
Farmers like Wang Weirong received an IC card to get water from the irrigation water management system.
“It is very easy. You just need to swipe the card and water will come to your field,” he says. Watch his story

Second, the Water Conservation Project was built on the experiences and lessons from its successful predecessor – the Water Conservation Project 1 (2000-2006). In order to precisely determine water use, the project introduced and mainstreamed in the design, the innovative concept of value added per unit of evapotranspiration (ET, or the process of transferring moisture from the earth into the atmosphere). The project was able to reduce non-beneficial ET to achieve ‘real water savings’. In addition, the project focused on taking integrated measures such as tailoring cropping patterns for higher water productivity and changing farmers’ behavior to reduce water consumption. The project provided financial and technical support to farm communities, leading to substantial increases in farm yield and output value with lower water consumption.
 
Third, the project invested in empowering local communities, building cooperative water user groups, and institutional strengthening through the establishment of new Water User Associations (WUAs) and the strengthening of existing ones. In project areas, self-managed WUAs were given responsibility to operate and maintain parts of or entire the irrigation system. WUAs were given the mandate to collect volumetric water charges and participate in water use planning and management.
 
Fourth, the project focused on farmer empowerment and incentives for farmers to change water use and water management behavior. The WUAs also organized the farmers around the management of the irrigation systems, water conservation, and water-saving measures, as well as tools and approaches to increase their productivity. The involvement of farmers in preparation, management, and maintenance of agricultural water-saving irrigation projects had a direct impact on the functionality and sustainability of the measures taken, as well as on the acceptance of new ideas and concepts by the farmer communities – such as switching to less water-intensive and higher-value crops.
 
Water Conservation Project II results in raised incomes and reduced water consumption
 
The Water Conservation Project II resulted in increases in farmer incomes while reducing water consumption and conserving the environment. The increase in agricultural water productivity also enhanced the climate resilience of the farming communities. Additional project results in the project areas speak for themselves: 

  • Crop yields increased significantly against 2011 baseline figures in all cases.
  • Water withdrawal in Ningxia was reduced by 22.67 million cubic meters (MCM) per year
  • Groundwater overdraft in Hebei was reduced by 16.52 MCM per year
  • Groundwater withdrawal in Shanxi was reduced by 5.80 MCM per year
  • New or improved irrigation and drainage services reached 594,200 beneficiaries, of whom 287,300 (48 percent) are women
  • Altogether, 290 WUAs in the three provinces have been created or strengthened by the project, comprising over 800 staff and more than 760,000 members (around half are woman).
  • Agricultural water productivity in project areas increased from 1.0 to 1.40 kg/m3 (of ET). 

By improving the sustainable use of finite water resources, this project helped to support greener growth and bolster more inclusive economic development. The project contributed to implementation of China’s national agriculture development and water resources management strategies and policies. It is also satisfying to see that the innovative approaches to water management introduced by the project are now being adopted on a broader scale in China and help shape other World Bank-supported projects in other parts of the world.

Related: 
Feature Story: Empowering Farmers And Implementing Modern Irrigation Helps China Reduce Water Consumption

 

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Inspection Video Promotes Clean Water, Healthy Farms

by Tom Damm

Spoiler alert!  Everyone wins.

A new video is benefiting farmers and regulators alike by taking the mystery out of farm inspections.

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association collaborated with EPA employees to produce a video that demonstrates what poultry and egg farms can expect when EPA or state inspectors come a-knocking.

The 14-minute video, featuring Mark Zolandz (inspector) and Kelly Shenk (ag advisor) from EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, helps further the goal of clean rivers and streams, well-managed farms and a robust agricultural industry.

Entitled “Why EPA and States Inspect Farms,” the video promotes a better understanding of the connection between agriculture and clean water.  It includes insights into the inspection process and provides information on assistance available to poultry and egg producers to address water quality issues.

The educational video, filmed on location at a turkey farm in Rockingham County, Virginia, outlines possible reasons why a farm may be inspected, how the farmers should prepare for the inspection, and how the inspection will likely be structured.

Runoff from farms is a significant source of pollution in rivers and streams. EPA and the states perform inspections to monitor compliance with regulations to protect water quality.  They also provide funding and technical assistance to help farmers adopt best management practices to control pollution.

You can check out more on the making of the video at this link.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division

 

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Inspection Video Promotes Clean Water, Healthy Farms

by Tom Damm

Spoiler alert!  Everyone wins.

A new video is benefiting farmers and regulators alike by taking the mystery out of farm inspections.

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association collaborated with EPA employees to produce a video that demonstrates what poultry and egg farms can expect when EPA or state inspectors come a-knocking.

The 14-minute video, featuring Mark Zolandz (inspector) and Kelly Shenk (ag advisor) from EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, helps further the goal of clean rivers and streams, well-managed farms and a robust agricultural industry.

Entitled “Why EPA and States Inspect Farms,” the video promotes a better understanding of the connection between agriculture and clean water.  It includes insights into the inspection process and provides information on assistance available to poultry and egg producers to address water quality issues.

The educational video, filmed on location at a turkey farm in Rockingham County, Virginia, outlines possible reasons why a farm may be inspected, how the farmers should prepare for the inspection, and how the inspection will likely be structured.

Runoff from farms is a significant source of pollution in rivers and streams. EPA and the states perform inspections to monitor compliance with regulations to protect water quality.  They also provide funding and technical assistance to help farmers adopt best management practices to control pollution.

You can check out more on the making of the video at this link.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division

 

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Testing Ticks is Vital to Safety

ticks being tested for Lyme disease at UConn lab
Photo: Heather Haycock

The warmer weather has people and our animals headed outdoors. Unfortunately, this same weather has also brought ticks out in abundance. Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have cited increased numbers of ticks, and tick-borne diseases. UConn’s Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (CVMDL), part of the Department of Pathobiology in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, is on the frontlines of research and tick testing to keep humans and animals safe.

Ticks are disease-carrying arachnids that reside in moist areas, long grass and the leaf litter and will latch onto humans and animals alike. Although there are many different species of ticks, people generally think of one tick species in particular when worrying about illness: the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). While the Deer tick is predominantly known for transmitting Lyme disease (caused by the corkscrew-shaped bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi) it can also carry other disease-causing agents. A single tick can transmit more than one infectious agent.

In the Northeast, we see the Deer tick, the Dog tick (Dermacentor variablis), Brown Dog tick (Rhiphcephalus sanguineus) and Lonestar tick (Amblyomma americanum). Each of these can be tested for different pathogens known to cause illness in humans and/or animals.

Tick testing at CVMDL serves multiple purposes. It helps the person or veterinarian who submitted the tick understand the potential exposure of the subject that the tick was found on. Our researchers are also using the results from tick testing to track current and emerging disease producing agents carried by ticks. The data can be used in setting priority areas for prevention and vaccine development.

CVMDL has been busy testing ticks this spring. We received 33 ticks for testing in April. Of these specimens, 25 of them were received in the last two weeks of the month. Two of the ticks were found on dogs. Overaal, the results showed that the Lyme disease agent was detected in 8 specimens, B. burgdorferi and Babesia microti (Babesiosis) were detected in one specimen whereas 4 ticks were positive for both B. burgdorferiand Anaplasma phagocytophilum(Anaplasmosis).

UConn researchers are not just testing for diseases transmitted by ticks. Researchers at PVS are also working to develop vaccines and preventative control measures to combat tick-borne illnesses.

If you find a tick on yourself, your child, or your pet, remove it immediately! CVMDL can test the tick for pathogens. Ticks received at the CVMDL are first examined under a microscope by trained technicians to determine the species of tick, life stage, and degree of blood engorgement, all of which are factors that may impact transmission of pathogens to the person or animal. Ticks may then be tested for the DNA of pathogens that are common to that tick species. Results are normally reported within 3-5 business days of receiving the sample, but next day testing is available for an additional fee.

Please send ticks together with a small square of moist paper towel, in sealed zip lock bags. The submission form, pricing and the “Do’s and Don’ts of tick testing” can be found on our website at http://s.uconn.edu/468.

For more information, read the article from UConn Magazinethat includes tips to prevent tick bites, or watch the UConn Science in Seconds video. You can also contact the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at cvmdl@uconn.edu or 860-486-3738 or visit the tick testing page on our website http://cvmdl.uconn.edu/service/tick.php.

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Strengthening policy innovation for water use in agriculture

Experts from high-income countries and client countries came together last week during a joint World Bank-OECD workshop to discuss the shared goal of improving policy design and implementation for water use in agriculture. Although efficient use of water is becoming a central aim of agricultural practices, much work is yet to be done to meet steep water demands and curtail pollution from agricultural production.

Facilitating Policy Change Towards Sustainable Water Use in Agriculture brought together staff from the World Bank staff and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but also representatives from the European Commission, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), various government agencies and offices of World Bank supported projects. The workshop panels and discussions focused on better understanding policy options to tackle complex challenges facing the water and agriculture space.

Guangzhe Chen, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Water Global Practice, outlined the key challenges facing the water and agriculture interface in his opening remarks: decreasing per capita water availability, increasing water pollution due to current methods of agriculture production, and increasing variability of water supplies due to climate change. “These challenges will continue and intensify unless additional meaningful action is taken worldwide, including improving agriculture and water policies. This is a core theme underlying this workshop,” said Chen.

Chen also asserted that agriculture water quality and quantity challenges are increasingly important in both developing and developed countries. He continued by emphasizing that conversations around water use in agriculture need to extend beyond technology and management. 

As such, the workshop aimed to develop recommendations on how to achieve positive policy change – in order to achieve more sustainable use and management of water in the agricultural sector. The workshop covered a rare mix of research results alongside practical experiences. Given the difficulty of designing, developing, and implementing effective policy reform, the sessions and discussions focused on cross-pollinating ideas to come up with shared recommendations.

“This workshop comes from the observation that policy changes in the area are not always easy to implement, to put together, and to introduce – and the question is, why is that?” said Guillaume Gruère, Senior Policy Analyst for the Trade and Agriculture Directorate of the OECD. He continued by explaining that there are a lot of options you can investigate if you look at issues from the outside. There is the question of water allocation – who are the priority users? There is the public good dimension – how can we change policies that don’t seem to work? And there are regulation issues across the board.

“Discussion and dialogue are really bringing something out that I can’t get when I read papers in my little office in Paris. And that is what is interesting, these collective action efforts, to discuss their perspective and change – that is how we can make sense about what to do,” said Gruère.

In line with this, the workshop focused on policy measures that have proven challenging to design, adopt and implement. Each session included presentations followed by a moderated discussion. The sessions focused on the following themes:

  • Session 1: Core drivers to changing agricultural and water policies
  • Session 2: Effective water conservation under scarcity
  • Session 3: Regulation of groundwater irrigation in areas facing depletion
  • Session 4: Pathways to reduce water-harmful subsidies in agriculture
  • Session 5: Water charges in agriculture
  • Session 6: Regulations for nonpoint source pollution 

Susanne Scheierling, Senior Irrigation Water Economist in the World Bank’s Water Global Practice, welcomed the participants. “We are very happy that the presenters at the workshop will discuss various experiences – from high-income countries but also low-income countries…and they will present a variety of views,” Scheierling said before the sessions started.

The following presentations ranged from diving into New Zealand’s experience with mitigating nonpoint source pollution to reviewing how Jordan dealt with over-pumping groundwater. The speakers discussed how to better integrate the sustainable use and management of water in agricultural and water policies. This includes measures to optimize water harvesting, water and soil conservation, ground water management, and water allocation systems – in addition to watershed-scale approaches that recognize the multiple uses of water and integrate good farming practices with effective land-use planning.

At the end of the workshop, Jennifer Sara, Director for the World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice, focused on how the presentations and discussions can facilitate World Bank Group operations. “Everything that is being discussed today is directly operationally relevant to the work we are doing across the world,” said Sara, emphasizing the importance of knowledge exchange.  
Overall, the workshop strived to identify pathways to address water resource challenges for the agriculture sector. All participants demonstrated a commitment to approaches that improve the sustainability of water use in agricultural production, while also ensuring food security. To ensure a water-secure world for all, it is imperative to ensure that water is protected, used, and managed sustainably in the agricultural space.

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