Drought, climate change and sustainability of water in agriculture: A roadmap towards the NWRS2

  • Daniel El Chami Department of Agricultural Economics, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa *Current address: Timac Agro Italia, Ripalta Arpina, Italy http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0712-858X
  • Maroun El Moujabber International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, Valenzano, Italy
Keywords: water management, irrigation, National Water Resource Strategy, arid and semi-arid areas, South Africa


The frequency and intensity of drought, extreme events and high wind velocities in South Africa are expected to increase in the next century as a result of the changing climate. The National Water Resource Strategy 2 (NWRS2) has set out the general and strategic directions for water resources management in the country for the next 20 years. However, the strategy does not draw a framework tailored specifically for agricultural use, with specific measures and goals. Therefore, to reach sustainability of water in agriculture, four major strategic goals are suggested, on which research institutions can focus and promote through good governance. The strategy emphasises: (1) crop research to find new drought-and heat- tolerant and resistant breeds and varieties; (2) intensified research in agricultural practices; (3) increasing the efficiency of water use within agriculture; and (4) integrating all these strategic goals within a sustainable research framework. Finally, the research calls for rapid action and implementation.

  • The framework is proposed for stakeholders and policymakers in higher education, agriculture and resources management in South Africa for new research horizons at national level to improve overall agricultural sustainability by 2030 as stipulated by the Millennium Development Goals.
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