Half of newly irrigated land is in water-stressed areas

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Irrigating more land could help feed 1.4 billion people, but over half of new irrigation projects are in places that are already at risk of running dry

Environment



18 August 2022

A drip irrigated vegetable farm in Panchgani, Maharashtra, India. Between 2000 and 2015, India saw the second largest increase in irrigated land.

Shutterstock/Hari Mahidhar

The world’s irrigated land has grown by more than 300,000 square kilometres since 2000. More than half of that increase occurred in places that lack enough water to irrigate without eventually running dry.

Around 90 per cent of all fresh water used by people goes toward irrigation, and irrigated lands produce food for 3.4 billion people. Irrigating rain-fed cropland could help grow food for an additional 1.4 …

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