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Water Savings of Crop Redistribution in the United States


Water — Open Access Journal


Kyle Frankel Davis

Antonio Seveso

Maria Cristina Rull

Paolo D’Odorico


30 January 2017

Recent research on the food-water nexus has highlighted how some major agricultural regions of the world lack the water resources required to sustain current growth trends in crop production. To meet the increasing need for agricultural commodities with limited water resources, the water use efficiency of the agricultural sector must be improved. In this regard, recent work indicates that the often overlooked strategy of changing the crop distribution within presently cultivated areas offers promise. This report investigates the extent to which water in the United States could be saved while improving yields simply by replacing the existing crops with more suitable ones. This report proposes crop replacement criteria that achieve this goal while preserving crop diversity, economic value, nitrogen fixation, and food protein production.