Solving challenges around agriculture, food policy, and water access.
The challenge of feeding a global population that is expected to reach 11 billion this century looms large. The availability of water—largely used for food production—is also an enormous challenge, made more difficult by the droughts associated with climate change. The School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences is home to much of Stanford’s expertise in this area. With faculty in areas such as sustainable agriculture, land use, economics, geographic analysis, watershed analysis, and ecosystem services and benefits analysis, Stanford brings an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to this tangled but vitally important set of issues.
A Stanford University study simulates 65 years of land subsidence, or sinking, caused by groundwater depletion in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The results suggest significant sinking may continue for centuries after water levels stop declining but could slow within a few years if aquifers recover.
Southeast Asia’s most productive agricultural region and home to 17 million people could be mostly underwater within a lifetime. Researchers recommend policy solutions including strict regulation of sediment mining, limits on groundwater pumping, and coordination among countries, development agencies and other private and civil society stakeholders. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)