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Water, energy and food security

Bush House North East Wing, Strand Campus, London

26 Feb ripples-in-water Part of Human Geography seminars

Water limits to growth: unravelling the water chain

King's Water Annual Seminar

Speaker: Ashok Chapagain (University of the Free State)

Water is an economic enabler. Harnessing the full benefits of water is constrained by three limits: hydrology, production efficiency and risks associated with externalising water footprints. Each river basin is unique with respect to the amount of rainfall and its pattern, rainfall-runoff relation, total available runoff, environmental flows, and other factors.

Making the process more efficient comes with a price marking a limit on local efficiency gain. Importing virtual water to relieve pressure on local water resources requires second-order resources, such as foreign currency, and a political will to move towards ‘water and food security’ policy from ‘water and food self-sufficiency.’ Enhancing global water use efficiency by means of trade has socio-economic limitations.

This seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

About the speaker

Dr Ashok Chapagain is a Senior Professor at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He has thirty years' experience in integrated water resource management, food security, water allocation, irrigation, hydrology and river basin planning. He has previously served as a Senior Water advisor for WWF and the senior science director for the Water Footprint Network.

His current research focuses on unraveling these limits to growth and developing a generic analytical framework to find optimal solution to growth under these water limits.

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