ICBA’s Presence at the International Water Summit 2013 in Abu Dhabi
Dr. Rachael McDonnell, water policy and governance scientist at the International Center of Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), gave a vital presentation based on findings from case studies of ICBA scientists during the International Water Summit on January 16, 2013 in Abu Dhabi.The presentation highlighted the importance and possibilities of using brackish water for sustainable farming; as a result, the amount of farmable land and new water resources available to support food security in increased, whilst pressure on fresh groundwater reserves is reduced.Dr. McDonnell tackled the importance of science and innovation in the crop production, especially with the limited fresh water resources, natural genetic adaptation research that would lead to identifying/breeding new crops that are salt tolerant. Scientists at ICBA have demonstrated how particular species of key crops are naturally able to tolerate salty conditions so providing important sources of forage and food.The importance of Agroforestry using marginal waters was another subject that was covered in ICBA’s presentation. Experience has shown that the use of diversified tree products with other crops had the direct effect on improving the soil health, gave shade to crops and livestock, and enriched livestock feeds on already degraded land. “Farm-scale water management practices are important and can directly affect the efficiency and productivity of the crops, leading to significant savings and return on investment for the farmers” said Dr. Rachael McDonnell.Credit for these case studies goes to the hard work of each of the following ICBA scientists: Dr. Abdullah Dakheel, Dr. Nanduri K. Rao, Dr. Shabbir Shahid, Dr. Shoaib Ismail, Dr. Rachael McDonnell, and Dr. Ian McCann. It is through their hard work and dedication and that of the remaining ICBA team that the center continues to deliver on its promise to demonstrate the value of marginal and saline water resources for the production of economically and environmentally useful plants, and to transfer the results of its research to national research services and communities.