Ensuring food security while providing access to safe drinking water and energy for all remains a key challenge in South Asia — home to a quarter of the world’s population. Rice and wheat, the region’s staple crops, require huge amounts of water and energy to grow. Fresh water is no longer abundant and climate change brings new uncertainties. With a rapidly expanding population, growing water stress and limited land resources and energy supply, South Asian countries must find a way to produce more food with less available land, using less water, and with increasing energy costs.
Jeremy Bird, director-general of the International Water Management Institute, a non-profit research organisation that focuses on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries, explores how hydropower could help to achieve this goal.