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Re: Water for food-A reply from Bayliss

Dear Saneters,
The original article in Bioscience (American Institute of Biological 
Sciences), is by David Pimental (Professor) and James Houser, Erika 
Preiss, Omar White, Hope Fang, Leslie Mesnick, Troy Barsky, Stephanie 
Tariche, Jerrod Schreck and Sharon Alpert (graduate students), at the 
College of Agricultue and Life Sciences, Cornell University. The article 
is entitled "Water Resources: Agriculture, the Environment, and Society: 
An assessment of the status of water resources". The sources for the 
data on estimated litres required to produce food and forage crops 
(water for food),  are varied, but they all seem impeccable and 
authoritative publications (including some USDA statistics.)
Regarding livestock production, the authors quote a study by Pimental to 
show that producing 1kg of animal protein requires 100 times more water 
than for 1 kg of vegetable protein. The following are some info from the 
"Livestock directly 1.3% of the total water used in agriculture in the 
US. But, including the water required for forage and grain production 
greatly inceases this figure.
Producing 1kg of beef requires 100,000 litres of water to produce 
approx. 100kg of plant biomass plus 5400 litres to produce 4kg of grain.
On rangeland, more than 200 000 litres of water are required to produce 
1 kg of beef."
Hope this was useful.

Best wishes

Socioeconomics and Policy Division
International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics
Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, 502324, India

----Original Message Follows----

Friends and colleagues,
        In reply to my request for more information on the source of the
water for food figures, Robert Bayliss offered the following:

From: ROBERT BAYLIS <Baylis@cardiff.ac.uk>
To: "Douglas B. Johnson" <djohnso2@facstaff.wisc.edu>
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 1997 17:21:11 GMT
Subject: Re: Water
Priority: normal

Dear Douglas B. Johnson

>>         Recently, I forwarded your post on "water for food" to a 
listserve, >> "Sustainable Agriculture Network." As you can see from the 
response below, >> some members of the list are skeptical of the data. 
Can you provide us with >> more information on the study that generated 
the reported figures?

>I had hoped to get you the precise citation on which the New 
>Scientist report was based.  Unfortunately, our library does not 
>have it.  The New Scientist article is >on page 7 of the 1 February 
1997 edition.  It is written by Fred >Pearce and is entitled "Thirsty 
meals that suck the world dry."  It >is a report on a publication by 
David Pimentel, a water resource >specialist at Cornell University in 
Ithaca, USA and published in the >February issue of Bioscience (not 
Bioscience Reports which we do have >in our library - I checked it).

Does anybody on the list have access to either the British publication, 
"The New Scientist," or the February issue of Bioscience. How about the 
Cornell folks...any familiarity with the data as presented by Pimental?
Best Wishes,

Douglas B. Johnson, Ph.D.

Outreach Specialist, Quality of Life Project
CSARE (Consortium for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
c/o CIAS (Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1450 Linden Drive, Room 146
Madison, WI 53706
(608) 262-9997

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