>Thomas Spears, president of Valmont Irrigation Division and Dominic Longo, another Valmont Company representative, were featured speakers at a recent world water forum.
Kyoto, Japan, was site of the March World Water Forum. The United Nations has declared 2003 the International Year of Fresh Water. The World Water Forum was the central event, with more than 10,000 attending.
Spears said the demand for water would soon exceed the available water. He said despite these pressures, society keeps water prices very low, but the economics of water could soon lead to a crisis in many parts of the world.
Spears said with available technologies today, the water supply could be stretched so that water will be available for agriculture for more efficient food production.
Longo explained that even though agriculture uses most of the world’s fresh water supply, without it there would be no hope for a world food supply.
“Agriculture has the greatest potential for solving the problem of global water scarcity,” he said. He says since agriculture irrigation accounts for more than 65 percent of fresh water usage, improving irrigation efficiency with modern, mechanized irrigation methods, such as center pivots, will help because they use half as much water as traditional flood irrigation. They also produce higher crop yields, he said.