About this Research Topic
Humanity faces the grand challenge of feeding 10 billion people by the year 2050 while also ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources, and adapting to climate change. Food production constitutes the vast majority of human water usage, and yet many agriculturally important areas are experiencing widespread water scarcity and pollution. In addition, the growing reliance on international trade for food security and national welfare means that consumers are increasingly dependent on geographically distant water resources. The mounting demand from a growing population, rising incomes, dietary shifts towards more resource-intense foods, and global climate change present unprecedented challenges, and the intensification and globalization of food systems points to the urgent need for solutions to ensure water security in the coming years. A growing body of research has focused on improving agricultural management and technologies for safeguarding water resources. However, there is a gap in the understanding of the role that policy-making and regulation can play in improving water security in global food systems.
Policies can serve a variety of purposes at each step in the food supply chain – including production, storage, transportation, trade, and consumption – and can have diverse spatial and temporal coverage. The multiple objectives that policies seek to achieve can lead to different and potentially conflicting impacts on water security. There is, therefore, an urgent need for research that examines the efficiency and the outcomes of policies on water security from multiple economic, social, and environmental dimensions.
In this Research Topic, we invite transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary contributions that improve our understanding of the mechanisms on how policy-making can influence water security at different spatial and temporal scales across global food systems. Suggested contributions include, but are not limited to, those that address the following topics:
• How policies reduce water pollution in food systems;
• How policies help to reduce water use in production, supply and consumption processes;
• How policies help to reduce food loss and waste, and promote healthy and sustainable diets;
• The role of policies in mitigating the impacts of climate change on water security;
• Assessing the policy relevance of virtual water trade;
• Interactions of policy-making and policy-implementation for water security;
• Impacts of policy conflicts at different levels on water security.
Keywords: Water security, Policy-making, Food systems, Water scarcity, Water pollution, Water quality, Global change, Governance, Virtual water trade, Food supply chain, Water Footprint
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.