Intensifying water constraints threaten food security and nutrition. Thus, urgent action is needed to make water use in agriculture
more sustainable and equitable. Irrigated agriculture remains by far the largest user of freshwater, but scarcity of freshwater
is a growing problem owing to increasing demand and competition for freshwater resources. At the same time, rainfed agriculture
is facing increasing precipitation variability driven by climate change. These trends will exacerbate disputes among water
users and inequality in access to water, especially for small-scale farmers, the rural poor and other vulnerable populations.The
State of Food and Agriculture 2020 presents new estimates on the pervasiveness of water scarcity in irrigated agriculture
and of water shortages in rainfed agriculture, as well as on the number of people affected. It finds major differences across
countries, and also substantial spatial variation within countries. This evidence informs a discussion of how countries may
determine appropriate policies and interventions, depending on the nature and magnitude of the problem, but also on other
factors such as the type of agricultural production system and countries' level of development and their political structures.
Based on this, the publication provides guidance on how countries can prioritize policies and interventions to overcome water
constraints in agriculture, while ensuring efficient, sustainable and equitable access to water.