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Asia
A South American drought keeps global grain reserves tight, but it could mean good things for North American corn producers.

Water scarcity and extreme weather are two reasons that food prices will stay high, however.

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China-Climate-Deal-Includes-Provision-on-Water-Energy

A joint energy research program will be extended and expanded to include water.

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DianchiLakeAlgae

Expensive research and cleanup efforts make little headway.

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NASABrazilAgriculture

A new study from the World Resources Institute shows the connection between crops and water scarcity.

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KSchneider_Mongolia_IMG_4746

Mining boom in South Gobi influenced by local and global citizen activism

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Nation’s Ministry of Environment turns to Circle of Blue and the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum for help.

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Scientists estimate that 99 percent of methane hydrates are buried in seabed in deep water.

Though methane hydrate, a newly discovered unconventional natural gas reserve, is seen as an alternative to coal-fueled power, the technology for tapping deepwater supplies is not yet viable.

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Mahanadi River India Chhattisgarh energy water shortage drought rainfall coal power plant river choke point circle of blue wilson center aubrey ann parker

Most abundant in Chhattisgarh and the neighboring eastern states of Jharkhand and Odisha, India’s coal belt cinches the nation round the middle, tapering off in its westward stretch to both the south and north.

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India Tilda Chhattisgarh irrigation canal system infrastructure agriculture farm farming farmer water food energy choke point circle of blue wilson center aubrey ann parker

Small-scale projects offer solutions to India’s water, food, and energy choke points. Still, India’s government seems determined to duplicate the frantic program of industrial development, economic growth, centralization, and one-size-fits-all silver bullets that China and the West are pursuing. The consequence is an endemic pattern of resource waste that is firmly embedded in India’s political system, causing economic and ecological havoc.

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rice-field

Growing agricultural sectors pose problems for water management and ecosystems.

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Despite the push for renewable energy alternatives to address water and climate concerns, India plans to keep coal as its primary source of electricity. But corruption, bureaucracy, slow environmental reviews, and inefficient transmission lines are hampering domestic production and causing unstable power supply.

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India Naraingarh Haryana Vinod Ashoka Gupta Shivshakti Rice Mill grain buyer production harvest depot trader seller water food energy choke point circle of blue wilson center j. carl ganter

In an attempt to remove risk from the grain-producing economy, India guarantees that it will purchase at generous prices and mill at no cost to producers every kernel of wheat and almost every grain of rice that its farmers grow.

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India Punjab Nawanshar Pam Sekhon Dhaliwal family farm farming farmer Green Revolution winter wheat rice paddies harvest crop cropland tractor poplar aspen electricity electric groundwater well pump flood irrigation water food energy choke point circle of blue wilson center j. carl ganter

Before the Green Revolution of the mid-1960s, growers in northern India produced an elegant feast of native fruits, grains, and vegetables. By the 1980s, Punjab and Haryana states had together become the largest rice and wheat producers in India.

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India Chandigarh Punjab Irrigation Department K.S. Takshi groundwater recharge rate urbanization well pump reservoir canal surface water food energy choke point circle of blue wilson center j. carl ganter

Home to 1 million, Chandigarh is considered the ‘cleanest city’ in India. It also has the highest per capita income, thanks in large part to the agricultural boom since the Green Revolution of the 1960s in both Punjab and Haryana states of northern India.

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India Punjab

Farm policies intended to remove risk from the grain-producing economy have pulled India from the perennial fear of famine. But inefficient bureaucracy and rampant corruption also promote the squandering of resources and a glut of food that is not reaching the poor.

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India water food energy choke point infographic graphic data coal groundwater scarcity bureaucracy

India’s resource problems are not those of scarcity, but rather of inefficient use and bureaucratic policies.

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After spending a month in India, Circle of Blue’s India team members debrief their findings.

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Punjab irrigation water well electric pump farm farming wheat crop rice paddy water table aquifer electricity generation Choke Point India water food energy nexus Circle of Blue Wilson Center Punjab Title: Irrigation well in Punjab, India

Thanks in large part to the Green Revolution that catalyzed grain production in the mid-1960s, India ended the perennial fear of famine. But achieving food abundance has overwhelmed India’s mammoth and unwieldy bureaucracy, drained its freshwater reserves, and strained the energy sector and electrical grid.

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A canal fed by the Liaohe River is seen near Xinmin, Liaoning, China on Sept 26, 2012.

Pollution is a major driver of water scarcity in China, especially in the places where economic growth is the highest and water resources are under the most stress — China’s dry northern breadbaskets and its biggest manufacturing hubs in the south and east.

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China Water Resources

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, faces multiple challenges for sustaining its water supply.

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