How Much Water Is Used for Agriculture?

According to a report by the United Nations, about 70% of the Earth's fresh water is used for agricultural irrigation. Of the water used in agriculture, only about half of it can be reused, because much of it evaporates or is lost during transit. Some of the crops that require the most water include soybeans, cotton, rice and sugarcane. Some experts are concerned about water waste and encourage the development of new technologies that could improve irrigation efficiency. They also recommend removing water subsidies, which would increase the cost of water and force users to be more conscious of irrigation management.

More about water use:

  • Water covers about 70% of the Earth, and 97.5% of it is saltwater.

  • Modern irrigation methods have negatively affected fish populations in many areas.

  • The countries that use the greatest volume of water include India, China, the United States and the Russian Federation.

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Discussion Comments


But where do those clouds go? That rain may never fall where it is needed.


About 70 percent is used for irrigation, not necessarily agricultural. Residential irrigation makes up a large part of this.


That sounds like a ridiculous progressive view on how to solve a problem. That solution would adversely affect the economy while doing little in solving water loss. Besides, if water evaporates it will reform to clouds and eventually rain.

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