Water for irrigation and other uses
Water for irrigation represents the main use of available hydric resources in most populations, especially in those where commercial irrigated agriculture for export is increasing. Added to the continuous increase in water for commercial agriculture is the use of water for leisure activities (water parks, swimming pools, golf courses, etc.). Thus, the recent reductions in superficial and underground water levels are a worrying environmental problem which affects men and women in all populations.
In many of the poorer populations the problem is more complicated, given that on top of their economic limitations for investing in irrigation there is the so-called “race for land and water” in the 21st century, in which there are three participating groups of investors: governments of countries with a water shortage (for example, those of the Arabian Peninsula), governments of countries with enough water but who are worried that in the short-term future their agricultural sector will be unable to supply their large and growing populations (for example, China and India), and finally large private companies –generally from western countries- who want land to grow bio combustibles or simply to sell more agricultural produce on the international market.
In all the continents, these agents buy or rent fertile land with strategic access to water in low income countries, which is generating serious problems for the local populations who live there.