Out of Thin Air: A Fresh Solution to Farming’s Water Shortages

Dry, arid and remote farming regions are vulnerable to water shortages, but scientists are working on a promising new solution.

Photo by Amir Shahabi on Unsplash

California has been plagued by perilous droughts for decades. Freshwater shortages have sparked raging wildfires and killed fruit and vegetable crops. And California is not alone in its danger of running out of water for farming; parts of the Southwest, including Texas, are battling severe drought conditions, according to the North American Drought Monitor. These two states account for 316,900 of the 2 million total U.S. farms.

But even as farming becomes more vulnerable due to water shortages, the world's demand for food is projected to increase 70 percent by 2050, according to Guihua Yu, an associate professor of materials science at The University of Texas at Austin.

"Water is the most limiting natural resource for agricultural production because of the freshwater shortage and enormous water consumption needed for irrigation," Yu said.

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Katie Navarra
Katie Navarra is an award-winning writer who covers education, horses, farming, and business/leadership.
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Meat Shortages Are Here to Stay. Is Lab-Grown Food a Solution?

While lab-grown meat is not yet ready to crisis-proof the food supply chain, it offers key benefits that could make it an important solution beyond this pandemic.

(Lab-grown meat concept photo © tilialucida/Adobe; Regular hamburger photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash)

The coronavirus pandemic exposed significant weaknesses in the country's food supply chain. Grocery store meat counters were bare. Transportation interruptions influenced supply. Finding beef, poultry, and pork at the store has been, in some places, as challenging as finding toilet paper.

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Katie Navarra
Katie Navarra is an award-winning writer who covers education, horses, farming, and business/leadership.