The agriculture sector in South Africa uses nearly 79% of the total land area – but only 12% of South Africa is suitable for rain-fed crops, with the rest reliant on dams and rivers. But why the struggle for water, when South Africa has millions of cubic metres of water underground.
We have been warned: we’re running out of water, and for the agriculture sector to survive, they need to understand and unlock South Africa’s groundwater potential. Crucial to addressing our national water security challenges, using groundwater for agricultural use has the potential to build resilience in food security, boost agricultural production, provide jobs to farmworkers, and strengthen farmers’ ability to withstand climate shocks and water variability.
The use of groundwater for domestic water and irrigation has already lifted millions of small farmers out of poverty. But for groundwater to contribute to sustainable intensification of agriculture, it is essential to know how to sustainably manage and recycle groundwater resources.