Climate change, water, agriculture - What will be the pathway between now and 2050?

The CGEDD-CGAAER mission formed to focus on the relationship between water and agriculture within the context of climate change submitted its report to the French Ministry of Agriculture on 17th December 2020.

According to this report, it would appear that the response to climate change requires a modification to the agricultural model, i.e., more water-efficient, protecting the soil and, wherever possible, the mission is in favour of developing the use of the water resource for irrigation, while respecting its sustainability and the conservation of the environment

.In this respect, it proposes to accelerate the transformation of agriculture by implementing an agroecological approach and making soil management the basis for a strategy of adapting agriculture to climate change. It advocates the transition to a “climate-resilient” type of irrigation, which is more water-efficient, and the stabilisation of production within a fluctuating climatic context rather aiming for maximization.

It outlines the conditions necessary for an acceptable increase in the use of the water resource for agriculture, by prioritising through incentive financing and appropriate support, low-water substitution reservoirs and collective water management approaches or by developing innovative techniques for the reuse of treated wastewater or replenishing the groundwater. The mission also proposes to revitalize the territorial management of water by making the territorial water management projects (PTGE) more effective and by increasing the ability of the communities to provide support for these approaches and the project management of water-related infrastructures.

It emphasises the need to reinforce the links between research, innovative farmers and the different sectors and reshape agricultural development to succeed in the popularisation of the agricultural transformation. 

It concludes by mentioning the need for a common discourse between the ministry of agriculture and the ministry of the environment on the issue of water and agriculture, through shared doctrines that should be monitored on a permanent basis and proactive communication with the stakeholders in the water industry, agricultural or otherwise, such as the consumers.