Science Talk: Debating Drops, Should the global ambition be to move water out of agriculture?

  • Date
  • Time
    03:00 pm > 04:30 pm UTC+03:00
  • Location
    United Nations, Conference Room 4, Nairobi, Kenya

Thematic Area:s: Climate Action, Agronomy Gains

“Food Secure Futures are Possible only in a Water-Secure World”

Session Overview

“Debating Drops” is an essential debate session designed to dissect the critical and timely issue of water redistribution from agriculture and its impact on inclusive growth. The session confronts the sustainability of current water usage in agriculture and explores innovative strategies for reducing agricultural water consumption without compromising food security nor equitable use, particularly for the most vulnerable. It examines the balance between maintaining essential water supplies for agriculture and reallocating water resources to other sectors in response to unsustainable future demands. This will be set up as a debate with two opposing teams, bringing different perspectives, experiences, and views on these complex questions. The audience will be invited to contribute to the debate, and the final takeaways.

During this session the CGIAR’s Water Integration Road Map will be officially launched


Illuminate diverse perspectives: Present complex views from various stakeholders on managing and reallocating agricultural water vis-à-vis other sectoral demands.

Explore sustainable practices and innovations: Delve into advanced agricultural practices and technologies that minimize water use, such as precision agriculture, hydroponics, and vertical farming.

Ensure equitable water allocation: Examine the implications of water redistribution policies to ensure they promote equitable access to water resources among all agricultural stakeholders, especially smallholder and subsistence farmers. Highlight the risks and potential consequences of diverting water to larger, more industrial users, which could marginalize smaller, vulnerable farming communities and compromise their livelihoods. Explore policy mechanisms and safeguards that can protect and prioritize these at-risk groups within the broader framework of water resource management.

Foster policy dialogue: Encourage a policy-oriented discussion on creating coherent strategies that address water use efficiency and sustainability.

Policy insight and global implications: Offer insights into global trends and policy frameworks that support sustainable water and agricultural practices.


  • Moderator: Dr Inga Jacobs-Mata, Director: Water, Growth and Inclusion, International Water Management Institute
  • Dr Mark Smith Director General International Water Management Institute